Gov. Wolf Highlights Workforce Training Initiatives, Calls for New Investments in Pennsylvania Workers, Businesses, Communities
Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Today, the Wolf Administration joined the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC to give an address highlighting Governor Tom Wolfs commitment to workforce and economic development and new opportunities to make major investments in Pennsylvania families, businesses and communities.
“I’ve always recognized the importance of our business industry to the continued growth of our commonwealth,” said Gov. Wolf. “That’s why I’ve made it a priority over the past seven and a half years to invest in our commonwealth’s businesses. As we look to the future, we have an opportunity before us to build on the work we’ve done over the past seven years and make a major new investment in our economy and in Pennsylvanians. That’s exactly what I want to do in this year’s budget: build on our successes in order to pave the way to a prosperous future for all Pennsylvanians. And right now, we have the money to do it.”
“Technology is changing fast, and the nature of work is changing right along with it. We need to take a strategic, forward-looking approach to workforce development to ensure that today’s students and workers have the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs – and that’s exactly what the administration, ?under the leadership of Governor Wolf, has done,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Acting Secretary Neil Weaver.
The Wolf Administration has invested $116 million in science, computer science and technical education, including $80 million in the innovative PAsmart program, which Gov. Wolf launched in 2018, and $36 million in apprenticeships and workforce training.
In 2017, Gov. Wolf launched the Training-to-Career program as part of his Manufacturing PA Initiative, and has since funded 76 projects with more than $16.6 million. The Training-to-Career program supports businesses by building a pipeline of workers equipped with the skills these businesses need to grow and thrive while giving Pennsylvania students advanced skills and a career pathway.
The Wolf Administration has also spurred economic growth by investing directly in businesses growing or relocating in Pennsylvania through the work of the Governor’s Action Team (GAT). In the 2020-21 Fiscal Year, GAT completed 58 projects and invested $82.5 million into business growth in Pennsylvania. In turn, those projects spurred over $3.8 billion in private investment, created nearly 10,000 new jobs and retained more than 33,000 existing jobs.
Last week, Gov. Wolf announced that Pennsylvania has collected record revenues for the 2021-22 Fiscal Year – more than $4.9 billion above estimate. Based on the latest revenue estimates, even if the governor’s proposed budget were implemented in its entirety, Pennsylvania would still have a multi-billion dollar General Fund balance at the end of 2022-23.
Gov. Wolf’s budget plan calls for major investments in education, families and businesses that will strengthen our economy and lower costs for Pennsylvanians, including:
- $1.25 billion in basic education funding to support students and provide an opportunity to relief to taxpayers;
- $300 million for the groundbreaking Level Up initiative launched last year to support the 100 most underfunded schools in PA;
- $200 million for the Nellie Bly Tuition Program for students attending a PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) university or community college so more people can earn a degree with less debt and encourage young people to remain in Pennsylvania;
- Increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour on July 1, 2022, with annual increases of $0.50 until reaching $15 in 2028, with an estimated 1.5 million people getting a boost in pay;
- Reduce the corporate net income tax rate from 9.99 percent, among the highest in the nation, to 7.99 percent immediately, with a path to 4.99 percent as quickly as possible to make Pennsylvania more competitive and expand the tax base to level the playing field for all businesses;
- $1.5 million increase for the PREP Network to help small businesses and higher education institutions partner to benefit students and entrepreneurs; and
- $8 million for job training through the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania (WEDnetPA), which has helped more than 2,000 companies train nearly 1.3 million Pennsylvanians.
- $18 million increase to support the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, a commitment to supporting innovation in the commonwealth.
In addition to his budget proposal, Gov. Wolf wants to spend $1.7 billion of Pennsylvania’s remaining federal American Rescue Plan Act money to lower costs for Pennsylvanians struggling with higher prices right now, including:
- $500 million to create the PA Opportunity Program to give money directly to Pennsylvania families in need;
- $225 million to help small businesses through the COVID Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program; and
- $204 million to increase property tax relief through the existing Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.