Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Industry Partnership Updates

(Thanks to our friends at PFWS for providing this information.)
  • Industry Partnership legislation: Senator Brubaker’s proposed bill for codifying the Industry Partnership program in statute (SB 552) now has 35 sponsors, demonstrating strong bipartisan support for Industry Partnerships. The legislation has been referred to the Senate's Labor and Industry Committee and could receive Committee consideration the first or second week of April. Please contact members of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee and ask them to report SB 552 WITHOUT AMENDMENT. Contact information for the Labor Committee members and a sample letter of support can be obtained on the PFWS website at www.workforcepa.com.
  • Industry Partnerships in the State Budget. On March 8, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his 2011-2012 General Fund Budget. Despite difficult budget constraints, the Governor showed his support for the Industry Partnership program by allocating $1.613 million to fund the building of Industry Partnerships. The Governor’s budget, however, zeroed out the Industry Partnership training line item, which had been $5.95 million dollars in last year’s budget. Since the 2008-09 budget the Industry Partnership program has been cut over 90%, from $20 million to $1.613. While many partnerships are wisely diversifying their funding, 90% is a very deep cut. PFWS will work with other advocates over the next several months to persuade legislators and the new administration to restore funding for Industry Partnership training. Stay tuned for future action alerts.

    Information on the Governor's Budget can be viewed on the PFWS website at www.workforcepa.com or at the state website at www.state.pa.us.
  • Workforce Development Hearings. On March 2, 2011, the Senate's Labor and Industry Committee held a committee hearing on Workforce Development issues. While Industry Partnerships were not the primary subject of the hearings, they were addressed by two of the witnesses.
    Linda Blake, Executive Director of PA Partners, said that the Industry Partnership approach has improved the delivery of employer-based training and that both state and federal funding sources should continue to support this approach.
    Patrick T. Beaty, Acting Secretary for the Department of Labor and Industry, testifying for the Corbett Administration, said: "While the Department has improved its relationship with business, in general, through its Industry Partnership program, there is still a disconnect between employers and the workforce delivery system at many points." Secretary Beaty’s observation underscores the for the Industry Partnership program to continue and to mature. The program provides a previously “missing link” between workforce education and the economy. By informing community colleges, vocational schools, and other trainers and educators with better intelligence on industry needs, Partnerships increase the return on all private and public funds invested in skill upgrading, not just from Industry Partnership funds.
Please visit the PFWS website at www.workforcepa.com to view the Labor Committee hearing testimony.

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