HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal contains strategic investments in JOBS1st PA to create family-sustaining jobs for Pennsylvanians; calling for investments to bring jobs back to Pennsylvania and aligning education and workforce development with current job opportunities.
JOBS1st PA, which was first launched in 2012, has created a comprehensive roadmap to economic recovery that harnessed the state's resources and talents to prioritize private-sector job creation and retention. Today, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate stands at a five-year low and jobs have been growing on a consistent basis for nearly four years.
"Pennsylvanians are finding jobs again – in Pennsylvania. Better still, economists say conditions are right for more job growth this coming year and well beyond. The PEW Research Center estimates that number to grow by another 76,000 this year alone."
Building upon JOBS1st PA's successes, this budget focuses on two core areas: Make It in PA to ensure the continued resurgence of Pennsylvania's manufacturing, life sciences and technology sectors, and Talented Workers to renew and strengthen our investment in job training opportunities for all Pennsylvanians with more being invested in Pennsylvanians through workforce training.
"Today our labor force is 6 million strong and growing. In three years, our commonwealth has added enough jobs to replace nearly all we lost in the downturn. At its peak, unemployment in our state was at 9.2 percent. Now it is at 6.9 percent, a five year low. That demonstrates progress," Corbett said.
The 2014-2015 "Make It in PA" investments include:
- Discovered in PA – Developed in PA – the budget provides continued funding of $9.9 million for the Discovered in PA – Developed in PA (D2PA) program, which moves ideas more quickly from the lab to the marketplace, and has assisted in retaining and creating more than 300 jobs. Last fiscal year, the D2PA program supported initiatives tied to growing the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, business incubators, and education, workforce and economic opportunity collaborations including the "Skill Up the Student Pipeline" initiative in the Lehigh Valley and the DISCOVER initiative in Elk and Cameron Counties.
- Joint Opportunity Business (JOB) Partnership Fund – the budget supports the JOB Partnership Fund, a private equity capital fund seeded with $10 million from the PA First program in the 2013-14 budget. The JOB Partnership Fund will provide an investment vehicle to channel private dollars into Pennsylvania projects that ordinarily would receive only grants and low-interest loans from the commonwealth. It leverages at least 9:1 with private capital, which will assist in attracting job creators to locate in Pennsylvania.
- Partnership for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) – the budget provides an increase of $500,000 to PREP which will support regional efforts in bringing jobs home to Pennsylvania. Nearly 43,000 jobs retained or created in 2013 through the efforts of PREP. Additional funds will enable PREP to target manufacturers that moved operations overseas and are looking to re-shore operations to Pennsylvania.
- World Trade PA – the budget increases funding by $600,000 for World Trade PA to expand promotion of Pennsylvania exports in key international markets and to attract foreign investment. Last fiscal year, the program facilitated more than $795 million in new export sales for Pennsylvania companies supporting 7,000 jobs and more than $74.8 million in Foreign Direct Investment supporting almost 1,000 jobs.
- Marketing to Attract Tourists – the budget directs an additional $1.25 million to the Pennsylvania Office of Travel, Tourism and Film to bolster statewide travel, tourism and film-related economic development. Travel and tourism related economic activity supported 470,953 total jobs, both directly and indirectly, representing 6.5 percent of the state's total employment.
- Marketing to Attract Business – the budget increases funding for Pennsylvania's ability to market itself through a $1.1 million increase to the Marketing to Attract Business program. Additional funding will build on current efforts to develop an actionable, cohesive, results-oriented public relations campaign that highlights why Pennsylvania is built to advance.
The 2014-2015 "Talented Workers" investments include:
- Pennsylvania First and WEDnetPA –the budget increase to Pennsylvania First includes a $2 million increase to the WEDnetPA Job Training program to train an additional 10,000 employees and a $3 million increase to the base program. Total funding for PA First is $42.5 million in 2014-15. WEDnetPA has supported training of more than 175,000 employees since PA First was created.
- Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) and Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIB) – A collaboration between L&I and DCED, this is a developing program to increase coordination between economic development and workforce development at a regional level. This budget will make $2 million in re-employment funds available to PREP regions and LWIBs if specific conditions for funding are met. This budget will create a means for local areas and local employers to determine what works best in their areas for training and development.
- Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA TIP) - To close the skills gap, the PA TIP provides financial aid grants to meet workforce needs, this budget increases this investment from $5 million to $6 million. To date, grants have been awarded to more than 1,200 students – including veterans – enrolled in certification programs in high-demand industries such as energy, advanced materials and diversified manufacturing, and agriculture and food production.
- Jobs for All – the budget creates on-the-job-training reimbursement program, as a direct financial incentive to promote the hiring of young people with disabilities. The first phase of this initiative will help employers successfully hire up to 1,000 young people with disabilities. Also, $1 million in new state funds will allow for the drawdown of an additional $3.8 million in available federal funds, allowing the Department of Labor & Industry's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to serve more people with disabilities seeking employment.
- EARLY Reach - to help youth with disabilities better prepare for their transition into the world of work and independence, EARLY Reach coordinators are assigned to each of the 15 Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (BVRS) district offices to connect earlier with youth with disabilities, their parents, schools and other community agencies. Earlier connection means more knowledge about OVR services that will help with decisions, expectations and success. This budget prioritizes state dollars to help as many young people with disabilities and their families prepare for a successful future after secondary school.
- JobGateway – JOBS1st PA will continue to connect job seekers and employers through JobGatewaySM. JobGatewaySM is a free, user-friendly job matching website that helps Pennsylvanians looking for work find opportunities from tens of thousands of real-time postings, find training for positions they have interest in and find out what industries are hiring in their region. To continue to meet the needs of Pennsylvania's job seekers, the system will be expanded to include online training programs, such as decision-making/critical thinking courses, and a self-directed skills assessment to help identify potential occupations or skill deficiencies.
For more information on the Governor's 2014-15 Executive Budget, visit www.pa.gov.
Valerie Caras, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
Steve Kratz, DCED, 783-1132
Sara Goulet, L&I, 787-7530
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor