Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rendell Administration Announces Innovative Initiative to Meet Workforce Needs of Employers, Stimulate Economy

'Way to Work' Initiative will Cover Wages for Qualified Employers

PHILADELPHIA, April 30 -- A new statewide, subsidized employment initiative will help put an estimated 20,000 people to work this summer by covering 100 percent of gross wages for private and non-profit employers, Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito and Department of Public Welfare Deputy Secretary Linda Blanchette announced today.

"Our economy is improving as evidenced by the addition of 22,600 jobs in March," Vito said during a news conference encouraging business participation. "However, for every one job opportunity, there are six job seekers. We must act quickly to increase the number of employment opportunities available to our unemployed residents -- Pennsylvania Way to Work does just that."

Through Pennsylvania Way to Work, the departments of Labor & Industry and Public Welfare will use federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, Emergency funds available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide an estimated 20,000 employment opportunities for youth and adults through Sept. 30, 2010.

"These federal emergency funds offer Pennsylvania's employers an unprecedented opportunity to boost economic growth while also bringing new workers into the fold and helping more Pennsylvanians achieve self-sufficiency," Blanchette said. "Businesses can use these funds to offer unemployed or underemployed Pennsylvanians valuable work experience that can help them establish or maintain connections that lead to long-term employment."

Pennsylvania's local Workforce Investment Boards are already reaching out to employers to determine the number of jobs that will be available when the program begins.

"This program's success depends on the participation of all businesses," Vito said. "Local Workforce Investment Boards are working hard, right now, contacting employers, helping them to identify employment opportunities and inviting them to participate in this program.

"Employers should contact us now, to pre-qualify and help us determine their workforce needs. Doing so will speed the process of getting individuals into job opportunities as quickly as possible," Vito said.

Employers are urged to visit, or call 1-866-858-2753 for more information on participating in the Pennsylvania Way to Work Program.

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