Businesses need workforce development

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The college and its students have already benefited from federal funding provided through the Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training grant. The initiative, which included all 14 community colleges in PA, helped provide critical training to displaced workers by giving them the skills they need to get back to work in a high-demand, family-sustaining job. The grant allowed CCAC to offer training and to hire dedicated staff to ensure students are successful at completing their courses, and assisting with job placement.

Clearly, the Obama Administration has played a vital role in workforce development and skills training throughout the country and in our region. Resources such as grants to help the long-term unemployed, apprenticeship programs, and grants for community college partnerships are just some of the things being done to strengthen our economy. We are proud to support the efforts of the White House and believe that they will strengthen our already existing programs and help our region continue to thrive.

The President also announced that the Department of Labor will be expanding apprenticeships for good, middle class jobs and making apprenticeships work for more Americans. We know that apprenticeships can often lead to opportunities for careers that may not have been possible otherwise, but not everyone can take advantage of those options. By focusing those efforts on high-growth fields, incorporating skills certifications, and making the value of apprenticeships more attractive, there can be a significant impact on our workforce system and employers.

And apprenticeships work—87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, and the average starting wage for those graduates is over $50,000.

The Pittsburgh and Allegheny County of a few decades ago are not the same as today. We both attribute our turnaround and successes to the value of partnerships. There is no plan that was followed, or formula that made this work. It partnerships, pure and simple. We have succeeded and progressed because we work together.

The same can be said for the initiatives that the President has announced. It highlights the partnerships that have made us successful, and emphasizes the best of our region. Partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, non-profits and faith-based organizations are absolutely imperative.  We are our best when we work together. Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are the perfect example of that and we look forward to showing the rest of the nation that as well.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, County of Allegheny
Mayor Bill Peduto, City of Pittsburgh

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