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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: September 25, 2013 03:21 PM
From: Representative Eli Evankovich and Rep. Justin J. Simmons, Rep. Ryan E. Mackenzie
To: All House members
Subject: PA Workforce Investment Strategy - “PA WInS”
To be a sustainable and competitive business in today’s economy, employers large and small require a highly-skilled workforce to enhance productivity, deliver a superior work product, ensure safety, and provide flexibility and cost-savings to employers. Pennsylvania’s core industries are experiencing labor shortages and are struggling to recruit skilled workers to meet rising demands or replace an aging incumbent workforce. The unfortunate reality is that current workforce development programs aren’t working for Pennsylvania’s struggling businesses.

In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to address this disconnect and which will revitalize workforce development in Pennsylvania as we have come to know it. This initiative will be known as the PA Workforce Investment Strategy-- “PA WInS”.

Utilizing a framework which is already in place, regional Workforce Investment Boards (commonly referred to as WIBs) will interface with local businesses which share common interests, have similar training needs, and which face the same difficulties in attaining a dependable and exceptionally-trained workforce. Unlike current workforce development programs which lump businesses into broad, impersonal “industry clusters”, PA WInS will be tailored to skill-specific training needs. These businesses, organized with the assistance and oversight of the regional WIB, will form a consortium known as a Cooperative Workforce Investment Partnership (CWIP).

Representatives of each business participating in the CWIP will work to establish, coordinate, and administer training programs predominantly for current employees. Approved training programs could be hosted at private facilities (such union halls, private company training centers and schools), or public facilities (career and technical schools, community colleges, universities, and adult learning centers) as the CWIP sees fit.

To provide a financial incentive to professionally develop their current workforce and bolster their local industry, participating CWIP businesses would be eligible for a tax credit as reimbursement for qualified workforce development expenditures such as program setup costs, equipment purchases, and program tuition. The tax credit, modeled after the tested and proven EITC framework, would equal 60% of the company’s workforce development expenditures, with a conditional 75% credit if the company commits to participate at greater levels in subsequent years. The tax credit would be administered by DCED and L&I and would grow from $3 million to $10 million over the next three years.

Creating and maintaining an environment which encourages workforce and economic development is a crucial role of the General Assembly. It is my strong conviction that the PA WInS program structure, in conjunction with the modest tax credit, will help businesses help themselves and will further advance Pennsylvania’s economy on the path to prosperity. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

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Introduced as HB1878