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Senator Santorum Joins U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao in Erie to Announce Grant for Pennsylvania

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Location: Erie, PA


Senator Santorum Joins U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao in Erie to Announce Grant for Pennsylvania

Funding Will Help Train Pennsylvanians for Careers in Plastics Manufacturing

U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today joined U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao in Erie at the Penn State Erie School of Engineering and Engineering Technology to present $3.75 million in statewide funding to train Pennsylvanians for jobs in the plastics manufacturing industry.

As a result of this funding, Pennsylvania will be able to develop a statewide network that supports multiple facets of the plastics industry's development including: Incumbent Worker Training; Curriculum Transfer; Occupational Forecasting; Supply Chain Analysis; a Plastics Occupations Toolkit; Internships/Co-ops; Scholarships; and Research & Development Symposiums. With these tools, training providers will be better able to understand and serve the critical needs of Pennsylvania's plastics industry, and workers will get training that will lead to enhanced career opportunities.

"I am pleased that Secretary Chao could be here in our home state today to see first hand how important the plastics manufacturing industry is to Pennsylvania and how this funding will help to overcome workforce challenges in a critical sector of manufacturing in Pennsylvania," said Senator Santorum. "This funding could not come at a better time in terms of equipping Pennsylvanians with the critical funding that is needed to retrain our already highly skilled workers. This initiative will serve as a model for other statewide skills-development initiatives, create an internship program for students choosing to pursue a career in the plastics industry, and provide partial scholarships for students to pursue a plastics-related Associate Degree."

"As technology advances, workers need help in accessing the training needed in the 21st Century workforce," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This grant will help Pennsylvania's workers in the plastics industry to gain the skills to be competitive in the worldwide economy."

The funding presented today is awarded to the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board to work in partnership with Penn State University at University Park and Erie, the Pennsylvania School of Technology (Williamsport), local workforce investment boards (Lancaster, Lewisburg, and Meadville) and the Ben Franklin Technology Partners (Harrisburg).

The Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board will play an oversight role and serve as the clearinghouse for documenting the overall impact of the initiative. Penn State University will be involved in technology transfer and research and development. Local workforce investment boards will work with employers to provide new job training and upgrade the skills of current employees.

"Penn State is playing a leadership role with the State Workforce Investment Board, to build upon our capabilities in plastics technology transfer and workforce preparation," says Vice President for Outreach Craig D. Weidemann. "This initiative is unique in that it brings together a very comprehensive approach of many educational institutions and government programs working with the private sector to advance a key industry sector in Pennsylvania. This collaborative effort will serve as a national model designed for replication with other industries."

"The funding is an excellent example of a public/private venture to stimulate job creation and improve the business environment in Pennsylvania," Senator Specter said. "I commend Secretary Chao and the Department of Labor for their commitment to reinvigorating the manufacturing industry and enhancing job opportunities for Pennsylvania citizens."

http://santorum.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.View&ContentRecord_id=1250&Region_id=0&Issue_id=0&CFID=6802519&CFTOKEN=63480384

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