We know that finding the right employees with the right skillsets can be challenging for many Adams County businesses. That’s basically what workforce development is—ensuring that we are cultivating the skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs in today’s students and residents. In today’s column, I’m going to highlight an expanding list of state and regional workforce development resources at our fingertips!

MANTEC: There are seven nonprofit Manufacturing PA Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs) serving the state. In our region, MANTEC, based in York, assists south central PA businesses as a manufacturing consultant. This includes workforce development consultation services. For more information, see mantec.org.

NextGen: My colleague Kaycee Kemper devoted her entire May column to this subject! (You may access it on the “News” tab of our website, AdamsAlliance.org.) To summarize, The South Central Pennsylvania Next Generation Initiative is inviting and gathering manufacturers to come together to identify and address issues affecting them: rising costs, technology, education, workforce development, and other topics, within our shared labor market region.

WEDnetPA: The Workforce & Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania (WEDnetPA) is a state workforce training program designed to help employers upgrade employees’ skills, knowledge and effectiveness with essential skills and advanced technology training. Since its founding 20 years ago in 1999, the program has helped more than 20,000 companies train more than one million Pennsylvania workers through grant funding and the Commonwealth’s network of technical and education partners. For more information, see wednetpa.com.

Apprenticeships: The Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program helps businesses cover the costs of formal instruction or classroom requirements for apprenticeships. To qualify, businesses must first register their apprenticeship program with the PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Apprenticeship and Training Office. See dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Workforce-Development/Pages/default.aspx.

Manufacturing PA: An additional grant resource, the Training-to-Career program provides funding that supports short-term work readiness programs, especially those that help people facing barriers to employment. This program directly addresses skills needed by entry-level applicants, and helps put them to work in PA. More information is at dced.pa.gov/business-assistance/technology-innovation/manufacturing-pa-initiative.

PAsmart: Finally, if workforce development is your jam (I confess it is one of mine), here’s a fascinating resource where the state has gathered information about education, training, apprenticeships, career options including STEM careers. For example, the state lists the top 20 STEM careers. At the top of the list: dental hygienists, with 671 hires expected in a year at an average salary of $66,270, and radiologic technologists, with 639 hires projects in a year at an average salary of $56,140. Also in PA, the top six STEM-related apprenticeships are led by carpentry, where more than 4,000 jobs are anticipated in a year, earning an average salary of $50,770. See pasmart.pa.gov for more info.

As always, please contact the Alliance about any and all of these programs! We are here to help businesses flourish for the good of our Adams County economy.