Business Community Endorses Senator Brubaker Proposal Giving Industry Partnerships Backing of State Law

Business Community Endorses Senator Brubaker Proposal Giving Industry Partnerships Backing of State Law

Innovative skill-building initiative gives state key competitive advantage

Harrisburg, PA (October 12) – At a press conference today hosted by Senator Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster), a broad cross-section of Pennsylvania business organizations urged legislative leaders to enact the Senator’s proposal to give the backing of state law to the commonwealth’s innovative Industry Partnership training program.

The Senate needs to pass the legislation this week if Pennsylvania’s nationally-recognized skills development initiative is to be written into state law this year. This move will ensure that the state continues to reap dividends from this program for decades to come.

“It is vital to ensure that our workers have the knowledge and skills to keep Pennsylvania businesses competitive in the global marketplace,” Senator Brubaker said. “The Industry Partnership program has been an overwhelming success…We should continue this program to ensure that our workers have the tools they need to be competitive and marketable to employers for years to come.”

The Senator highlighted the role of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board in bringing agricultural businesses and educators together to address the industry’s specific workforce needs. Lancaster also has Industry Partnerships in seven other regional industries.

“Industry Partnerships are one very important tool in our workforce development portfolio and are an initiative embraced by both candidates for Governor,” said David Patti, the President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council. Industry Partnerships are an initiative that “started in the Schweiker Administration that we need to make permanent,” Patti added. They have “a record of success we can all celebrate.”

On Friday, another business organization, the Greater Philadelphia CEO Council for Growth, sent a letter to “strongly urge” Senators to pass Industry Partnership legislation. “Pennsylvania has been recognized as a national leader in this area,” said CEO Council Chairman and former Republican Senator Rob Wonderling in the letter. “This legislation needs your support to ensure that we maintain this advantage.”

Speaking for a local business organization engaged with the state’s Industry Partnership effort, Michelle Griffin Young of the Lehigh Valley Chamber said Senator Brubaker’s legislation is about jobs. “What the Industry Partnerships have done is bring our businesses—small and large—together to upgrade their skills. Without Industry Partnerships, our employers have told us, they would not have been able to keep up,” she said.

Kelly Lewis, President and CEO of the Technology Council of Pennsylvania, thanked Senator Brubaker for his leadership and said that Industry Partnerships are supported by diverse industry sectors, including technology, manufacturing, research and development companies, and agriculture.  “It’s crunch time in this legislative session,” Lewis added, “and this is one of the most important pieces of legislation to send to the Governor.”

Mike Smeltzer, Director of the Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania, said he was “proud to join my peers on the stage and around the state of Pennsylvania in support of Senator Brubaker’s proposal…The Industry Partnerships give a structure for our companies, labor unions, and educators to work together.” Smeltzer urged “quick passage” of the bill, saying “this is not a political issue, this is an economic issue.”

Mike Lupey, manager of the maintenance and tool-and-die department at Ames True Temper and a participant in a South Central manufacturing Industry Partnership for three years, said his company has trained over 25 employees in technical disciplines such as hydraulics, mechanical functions, and electrical applications. “The Industry Partnership has brought companies together, helped them stay current with new technology, and played an important role in keeping companies competitive,” Lupey said.

Nearly 200 individual representatives of Pennsylvania businesses have signed a statement calling on the legislature to pass Industry Partnership legislation. The list of these individuals and quotes from many of them explaining why they support partnerships are available at www.workforcepa.com.

Scott Sheely, the Lancaster Workforce Investment Board director, said: “As I look back over 10 years, I see nothing short of a miracle—government in the form of the public workforce system learning by listening to its constituents, to employers struggling to remain competitive in the global marketplace. In the last five years, Industry Partnerships have grown to a scale that they have become a significant factor in economic development. I encourage the legislature to keep the momentum going.”

Senator Brubaker noted the support of Representative Marc Gergely (D-35) for the Industry Partnership program. In a written statement, Representative Gergely said Senator Brubaker’s bill would strengthen the economy and support workers and businesses. As soon as the bill passes the Senate, the Representative pledged, he would “work with my colleagues to quickly secure passage” of the bill in the House.

Senator Brubaker closed the press conference by saying: “Everyone is pro economy. Everyone is pro jobs. This program is about matching the resources with the emerging needs. It is a win-win. I am very optimistic that something is going to happen.

October 13th, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | No Comments