Senate Democrats Gather Ideas on Improving Job Training Programs
Philadelphia – April 15, 2011 –Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chair Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe) said Democrats will hone their PA Works jobs and economic development plan with many of the ideas offered at yesterday’s roundtable discussion in Philadelphia.
“I thought the region’s labor, business, government and training experts who took part in yesterday’s discussion had some great ideas for getting people back to work,” Boscola said. “My committee will continue to seek local input as we visit different regions of the state and discuss aspects of our “PA Works” legislative package.”
Mark Boyd, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries, discussed the need for consolidating and making job training programs more efficient and effective. He called for simplifying contract systems and placing more emphasis on finding work opportunities for the disabled, uneducated and ex-offenders.
“I would offer zero taxes for companies that bring Pennsylvania high-paying manufacturing jobs,” Boyd added.
Everett Gillison, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for public safety, agreed, suggesting that workforce development is an important component of public safety and attracting employers to a community. Ryan Boyer, business manager for the Laborers District Council added, “The best social program is a job.”
Patrick Eiding, president of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO said there needs to be a greater coordination between employers and job trainers to make sure people are being trained for existing long term jobs. He also suggested putting a greater emphasis on offering incentives to attract more employers to Pennsylvania.
“Ninety percent or more of solar heating components are made in China,” Eiding said. “Why not give them an old facility in Kensington, give them the building, any available tax credits and help them get started.”
All of the roundtable participants commended the Senate Democrats’ PA Works package. They said it would help get more people to work and help the state emerge from the recession.
Boscola said PA Works would create more than 28,000 jobs while actually saving state taxpayer dollars. She said the Democratic plan would leverage $2 billion in private investment to help put people to work, cut business taxes and help small businesses be more competitive, rebuild the state’s aging infrastructure, foster the growth of promising new clean and green energy industries and retool worker training programs.
In addition to Eiding, Boyd, Boyer and Gillison were: Pat Merk, Health and Safety Director, Finishing Trades Institute; Stacy E. Holland, co-president, Philadelphia Youth Network; Liz Robinson, executive director of programs, Energy Coordinating Agency; and Gary Masino, president of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19.
Senators joining Boscola were Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Shirley Kitchen (D-Phila.), Mike Stack (D-Phila.), Christine Tartaglione (D-Phila.), LeAnna Washington (D-Phila./Montgomery), Larry Farnese (D-Phila.), Vince Hughes (D-Phila./Montgomery), and John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe).