Governor Wolf Announces Approval of Grant to Provide Manufacturing and Employability Skills to Young Adults in Berks County

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf announced the approval of new funding to Reading Area Community College (RACC) to provide young adults with basic manufacturing production and employability skills to help them get good-paying, reliable jobs with area manufacturers.

“One of the most important ways we can strengthen our manufacturing sector is by providing Pennsylvanians with the skills they need – both on-the-job and employability skills – to help them begin successful careers in manufacturing,” Governor Wolf said. “By working hand-in-hand with local partners and employers, RACC’s new program will serve as a key initiative to support local manufacturers and strengthen the regional workforce.”

The grant will provide $143,000 to RACC to develop a new training-to-career program in which participants will attend full-time classes five days a week for six weeks. Curricula will consist of basic production skills along with workplace behaviors, resume writing, and interviewing skills. Upon successful completion, all participants are guaranteed an interview with the core partners or companies including Berks Workforce Development Board, Brentwood Industries, Carpenter Technology, Cambridge-Lee Industries, Custom Processing Services, R-V Industries, RM Palmer, and Sweet Street Desserts. With successful funding, the first group of trainees is scheduled to enroll in Fall 2018. In the inaugural year of the program, all tuition charges for participants will be waived. Applications will be accepted beginning summer 2018.

“We are delighted to receive this funding and appreciate the commonwealth acknowledging the important role that our college, in concert with the Berks County Workforce Development Board, plays in moving people into manufacturing jobs,” said Dr. Anna Weitz, president of Reading Area Community College. “The economy of Berks County, and in fact, our entire region is fortunate to include so many companies involved in advanced manufacturing. Their continued success is highly dependent on an appropriately-trained workforce.”

The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant is designed to provide funding for training programs to help unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as those with barriers, to gain the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector. Eligible applicants include technical and trade schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations that develop new and innovative training programs and partner with two or more manufacturers. Governor Wolf recently announced other Training-to-Career grants to Workforce Solutions of North Central Pennsylvania, the Precision Manufacturing Institute, the Manufacturers Research Center, the Greater Johnstown Career & Technical Center and Robert Morris University.

The Training-to-Career grant is one of three components of Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative, along with Industrial Resource Centers and the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Innovation Program, that was launched in October 2017. This initiative ensures that training leads not simply to any job, but to careers that provide higher pay and opportunities for advancement. Working with DCED’s strategic partners, including Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs), Pennsylvania’s colleges, universities, technical schools, and non-profit organizations, this initiative fosters collaboration and partnerships to accelerate technology advancement, encourage innovation and commercialization, and build a 21st century workforce.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to manufacturing, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
J.J. Abbott, Governor’s Office, 717.783.1116
Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132

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