Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Do you know if your legislators support the JOBS Act?

Communication with our legislators is paramount when dealing with our workforce and education.  Please read this recent support letter for the JOBS Act to our federal legislators US Senator Pat Toomey and US Senator Bob Casey.  I encourage you to contact our legislators if you support the JOBS Act.

I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor the “Jumpstart our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act,” which was recently introduced by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH). This important legislation would strengthen our economy by extending eligibility for federal Pell Grants to short-term job training programs at community colleges and other institutions of higher education.

Postsecondary education and training are critical in today’s labor market: more than 80 percent of today’s jobs require at least some form of education and training beyond the high school level. And U.S. workers and jobseekers are responding to these skill demands: more than half of all undergraduate awards in 2012 were at the associate’s degree or below, and nearly one million of these individuals received postsecondary certificates, which offer working learners a flexible and cost-effective way to obtain career-advancing skills in health care, manufacturing, and other high demand occupation.

These shorter-term educational investments pay off. The average postsecondary certificate holder has 20 percent higher lifetime earnings than individuals with only a high school diploma, and research indicates that in some occupations short-term certificates can actually lead to better employment and earnings outcomes than an associate’s degree in the same field.

Unfortunately, we are not keeping up with labor market demand, with the United States facing a shortfall of as many as 4.7 million new workers with postsecondary certificates by the year 2018.  

Our current federal higher education policy is part of the problem. Pell Grants – the primary form of federal tuition assistance for low-income and working students – can’t be used to support many of the short-term occupational training programs at community colleges and other institutions that provide the skills and credentials employers need.

The JOBS Act would address this challenge by authorizing Pell Grants for job training programs of at least 150 clock hours over not less than eight weeks of instruction, compared to the current requirements of at least 600 hours over not less than 15 weeks. Institutions would be required to ensure that programs were aligned with the skill demands of employers in their state, and that programs resulted in a recognized postsecondary credential. The bill would also encourage colleges and other eligible entities to connect short-term credentials to career pathways and to ensure that individuals with low literacy and numeracy skills have the supports they need to succeed.
To sign on as a co-sponsor of the JOBS Act, please have a member of your staff contact Karishma Merchant in Senator Kaine’s office at karishma_merchant@kaine.senate.gov, or Allen Ernst in Senator Portman’s office at allen_ernst@portman.senate.gov

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Nancy Dischinat ndischinat@lvwib.org or 610-841-1122.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Micro-credentials=Manufacture Your Future

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

Last week I highlighted programs discussed at the Lehigh Valley Diversified Manufacturing Industry Partnership meeting....I am sure that you read it and called Gina Kormanik to see if quality for employee training dollars or you called Gina to see if you can participate in the consortium training at B.Braun.

This time I want to highlight the Manufacturing Micro-credentials at Northampton Community College.  This exciting new program offers a certificate that displays experience in and knowledge of a specific skill.

These are shortened coursework and shows employers a potentials employees skills and knowledge.
Who does this work for?  Someone who is just starting off in their career, someone who is looking for a career change or perhaps you have an employee who has been in your company and they are looking to expand their skills and knowledge base.

Right now there are 5 modules that range from..... "is this industry for me?" to "quality inspector or operator".

This is hands on experience that you can not learn from a book!

Chamber members if you are interested please contact Gina Kormanik at 610-841-1006.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Manufacturing Industry Partnerships taking the lead....

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

Yesterday the Lehigh Valley Diversified Manufacturing Industry Partnership (LVDMIP) meet at B.Braun Medical Inc, in Allentown.

Over 40 manufacturers meet to discuss and learn about resources available for employee training dollars, future talent pipeline education programs and consortium employer training.

LVDMIP is taking the lead to offer employers training dollars for incumbent workers. $$$$ Money for employees already in your facility $$$$ Of course there are requirements but a quick call to Gina Kormanik will explain if your company is eligible.

I would like to personally thank Mary Frances Mika, Trainer, B.Braun Medical Inc for hosting the partnership.  B.Braun is a pillar in the Lehigh Valley region and always such a supportive partner.  So supportive that they offer consortium training for other manufacturers at their facility. In the coming months, they will host The People Code and 5 Levels of Leadership for employers. Information on these sessions are below.
If you would like to register please contact Gina Kormanik, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board at 610-841-1006.

The Manufacturing Industry Partnership is evolving and achieving more and more each year.  Next week I will share another evolving program that will offer assistance to the workforce and employers.....Micro-credentials!!We are the one stop shop for employers and employee contact us today!

Friday, January 6, 2017

We are your ONE stop shop!

Yesterday Channel 69 News interviewed me regarding the issues surrounding PA Unemployment Offices closures.  Our facility has always been a resource for individuals who are needing assistance for unemployment compensation and job seekers.  We are happy to continue to serve the community.

Contact our offices if you are in need of assistance.
Allentown Full Service Office Location:
PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley
555 Union Boulevard
Allentown, PA 18109
610-821-6760 (TTY)
610-434-4122 (Fax)

Satellite Office:
Allentown Employment and Training CenterDonley Center
718 West Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101



Here is a copy of the article

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - At CareerLink in Allentown, people seeking unemployment benefits are playing the waiting game. Some are looking for employment, while others are trying to get the unemployment office on the line.
Ronald Hermann waited nearly five hours, along with 150 other people, to use one of two phones linked directly to the state office.
CareerLink centers in Allentown, Reading and Lancaster say they have seen a dramatic increase in people using these phones.
"I am happy for the resource of the UC phone line because you can't get through to them at all," said union worker Jeff Hale.
Hale, like others waiting in line, say they tried to reach the UC office on their home phones to no avail.
"You could get through on the lines here quicker than you can on your home phone so we came down here to call and we are still waiting," said a woman named Linda who was waiting in line with her husband Paul, a construction worker.
Officials say the phone line spike came after the unemployment compensation offices in Allentown, Altoona and Lancaster were closed last month and their workers laid off.
The closures are casualty of what Representative Peter Schweyer says is a funding battle between Governor Tom Wolf and Senate Republicans leaders.
He says the bill to fund the offices was passed by the house, but stalled in the Senate.
Schweyer says he will submit a bill to fund the shuttered offices when the legislature resumes January 23rd.
He says the problem is because the funding was allowed to lapse, building lease expirations, the rehiring process and training could slow momentum.
69 News contacted Senator Pat Browne's office seeking his take on funding the unemployment offices. Our calls were not returned before this article was posted.
Until the funding issue is resolved, Careerlink officials say they anticipate the phone lines will remain long and has this advice for anyone wanting to use them.
"The earlier, the best time to come is certainly early. The earlier you come the lower number you get," said Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Nancy Dischinat.
Dischinat says the Allentown office has been doing its best to make sure those waiting in line are able to make good use of their time.

"We just tried to put out some refreshments and talk to them and tell them what are the services we have going on and make sure they understand we are trying to help in any way possible," said Dischinat.