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Governor pushes workforce development, but some worry about cost

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Investing in Pennsylvania’s workforce is a big push by Governor Tom Wolf. The governor spent the day taking a look at the needs of one Lancaster County based company as he pushed his new workforce initiatives.

However, some are worried about how much these new programs will cost.

“These are great jobs that can really lift these families up,” said Mike Shirk, CEO of High Companies.

But there is a growing demand to fill these jobs and a lagging workforce. Shirk says High Steel is staring down about 300 retirements in the next several years, almost 15 percent of its workforce.

“There is still a pretty significant gap between the demand side of the equation and the supply side of the equation,” Shirk said.


“Businesses need skilled workers,” said Governor Tom Wolf,

Governor Wolf took a tour of High Steel University, an in-house training program for employees, pushing his new Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP).

“We need to make sure that we have an adequate way to provide people skills. We need to work together on this,” Governor Wolf said.

“We really want to focus on workforce training and development. The governor has outlined a few but we need more information from him,” said Representative Stan Saylor, (R) Chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

That more information surrounds the costs. The Governor’s proposed budget allocates $35 million worth of workforce development spending for these programs in the 2019/2020 budget.

“It costs a lot. It cost a lot however we do it, however if we do it wrong it cost even more,” said Governor Wolf

“We need to start toning our budget down and redirecting money to areas where programs really work and restructure government as a whole,” said Rep. Saylor.

When I asked the Governor directly about the cost today, he compared this investment to his PASmart initiative that rolled out last year with the price tag of $30 million.

Budget hearings in the House start on Monday.

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