Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $200,000 state grant to fund Erie regional job-training program

ERIE, May 3 – A $200,000 state grant will provide on-the-job training to Erie job seekers while strengthening the talent pool for regional manufacturers, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today.

The funding to Erie Regional Manufacturer Partnership will allow it to partner with workforce development boards to create WorkAdvance – a short-term manufacturing training program that will provide job-training skills tailored to workforce needs as well as placement assistance for the Erie County region.

“As the manufacturing industry continues to advance and incorporate new technologies such as robotics, it’s essential that our region has qualified workers who can step into these high-tech jobs,” Bizzarro said. “Programs such as WorkAdvance are extremely helpful because they address that potential manufacturing workforce gap and help ensure that our regional industries remain competitive.”

Harkins agreed, noting, “While we are always looking for new business opportunities, it’s also essential to make sure we are doing all we can to strengthen our current industries. The funding for this program will help ensure that our local manufacturers have the pool of skilled workers they need to keep pace and remain competitive in today’s business world.”

Merski added that the program will fund a range of services for area job seekers.

“The program will be a terrific resource for area job seekers because it will offer both classroom-based and on-the-job training,” Merski said. “Job seekers will benefit from a range of resources, from career coaching to job skills and technical training to employment placement assistance – all of which will help them gain the skills they need for family-sustaining jobs.”

Under the program, ERMP will partner with the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, NWPA Job Connect/PA, CareerLink, Northwest Industrial Resource Center, Greater Erie Community Action Committee and the Erie county Career Pathway Alliance.

Participating manufacturers include American Turned Products, Custom Engineering, Econ Concrete & Steel, Erie Press Systems, Erie Strayer, Eriez Magnetics, FMC Technologies, GE Transportation, Industrial Sales & Mfg., Knox Western, Lord Corp., Machining Concepts Inc., Maple Donuts, McInnes Rolled Rings, Modern Industries, PSB Industries, Reddog Industries/PHB Inc. and Zurn Industries.

The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant funds training programs that help unemployed and underemployed residents and those facing work barriers to gain jobs in the manufacturing sector. Eligible applicants include technical and trade schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations that develop new and innovative training programs and partner with two or more manufacturers.