Organizations receive grants to strengthen workforce in southeastern Pa.

Organizations dedicated to supporting local and regional workforce development have been awarded $1.25 million from the state through its Industry Partnership Grant program.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday announced the recipients.

Industry partnership grants support businesses partnering to build a stronger, more competitive job market through training, networking, recruitment and collaboration within targeted industries and offer Pennsylvanians opportunities for careers. The grant program is administered through the Department of Labor & Industry.

“With Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate holding steady at a record low, it is our collective responsibility to make decisions that are responsive to the needs of both Pennsylvania workers and employers in sectors where talent pipelines are tapped,” Wolf said in a press release. “By investing in workforce development projects, and specifically industry partnerships, we can connect hardworking Pennsylvanians with opportunities to advance their skillsets and obtain family-sustaining jobs in booming industries.”

The following regional organizations received grants.

AgConnect: $250,000

AgConnect serves Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia counties. The organization will use its grant funding to provide technical assistance for farm and food business partners in the region for training, management and accounting; create youth pipeline development and provide hands-on experience to high school students; implement an Innovative Workplace Solutions grant program; and provide project management for the Pennsylvania Cheese Guild and Growing Roots Partners’ Good Food Fest.

Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware counties: $250,000

The alliance serves Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery and York counties. The organization will use its grant funding to recruit and retain employees for participating companies. The project will also focus on continuing outreach efforts to youth and their parents promoting manufacturing careers. The other main focus is to create new and innovative programs to connect women and female students to careers in manufacturing.

Smart Energy Initiative of Southeastern Pennsylvania: $250,000

The organization serves Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and York counties. The goals of the partnership include consumer and business education about different energy sources. It will also offer classes about newer building codes and plans to train 60 employees.

Southeastern Manufacturing Pennsylvania Alliance: $250,000

The alliance serves Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The five main activities for the partnership are exchanging information with other manufacturers about innovation, introducing youth to careers in manufacturing, developing a pipeline of diverse workers, working with manufacturers to develop local supply chains and exploring best practices for manufacturing training curriculums.

The Innovative Technology Action Group: $250,000

The group serves Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The partnership plans to use its funds for employer outreach, technology education events for IT professionals, incumbent worker training and youth career exploration activities including Girls’ Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology.

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