HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 14, 2017 — A new report from the Working for America Institute and Jobs With Justice Education Fund profiles a Pennsylvania program as a successful example of a workforce intermediary partnership. These partnerships bring together unions and employers to recruit, train, and diversify the workforce for a given industry or a specific employer. The involvement of unions ensures that employer training programs that benefit the company also benefit workers and their communities by creating pathways to family-sustaining careers.
In Pennsylvania, Keystone Development Partnership (KDP) brings together key partners across multiple industries as well as community colleges, unions, organizations, and state and local workforce boards. Through this workforce intermediary partnership and others like it across the country, local labor, employers, community groups, educational institutions and local government work together to develop and fund cost-efficient training programs that respond to industry needs, create career opportunities for disadvantaged communities, and provide real paths for advancement for workers who invest their time and effort in training programs.
KDP was founded by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO in 2005 and has since served 18 employers and 23 unions in the electric gas and water sectors in Pennsylvania. Over 4,000 utility sector workers have attended KDP training since its inception. In a survey of stakeholders, 90% said the partnership led to cost savings for training, 70% said it led to improved labor-management relations, and 50% said it led to increased productivity.
Recently, KDP became the Pennsylvania project manager to promote the Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship program, which started in Wisconsin. The 18-month program includes training in operating equipment, improving manufacturing processes to meet customer demands and efficiently managing raw materials. The program is customized to meet the needs of a wide range of production facilities. Upon completion of the on-the-job training program, apprentices earn nationally recognized manufacturing journey worker credentials.
There are an estimated 243 workforce intermediaries in the U.S., though the report focuses on programs that specifically partner with unions. The gap in wages between college and high school graduates has increased since 2001, up to 57 percent in 2016, and many employers report difficulty finding workers with the expertise needed in sectors such as manufacturing, health care, transportation, and construction. Workforce intermediary partnerships address these issues and allow both working people and their employers to thrive by offering alternative education and training opportunities for skilled and specialized jobs across several industries.
SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
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