Harrisburg, PA – Democrats and Republicans are working together in our state to move a group of job training bills towards early legislative action.

The 8 bills are called Pennsylvania Families First, and they try to address the skills gap and solve the issue of a shortage of skilled workers.

House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, a Republican from Lancaster County, says career and technical education is particularly meaningful to his family and expressed hope the bills can move forward rapidly to become law.

“This is something that is very important to me because it’s something that my wife and I both personally experienced. My wife went to the local CTC to become a licensed practical nurse, and I originally went to become an x-ray technologist. So, it was that hands-on kind of learning that made you immediately job ready. It’s something that we both have been able to benefit from and I think it’s an opportunity that everyone should have. It’s our hope that these bills rapidly become law. The bills are ready and positioned to move out of committee this week.; final floor vote when we return at the beginning of March.”

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Along that same line, Gov. Tom Wolf has already signed an executive order to create the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. The command center will expand the collaboration between government and the private sector to address giving workers the skills businesses need that workers don’t have, along with worker shortages.

It will recommend ways to better coordinate workforce and economic development programs across state agencies and identify barriers that may prevent someone from working or prevent businesses from hiring skilled workers. Examples include lack of child care or transportation, as well as outdated professional licensure, certification and continuing education requirements.

Senator Jim Costa, a Democrat from Allegheny County, gives his thoughts.