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Economic Development

Solutions for employers’ and job seekers’ current and future needs 

Building a Skilled and Resilient Workforce

There is a significant skills gap between requirements for jobs now and in the near future and the skill level of the current workforce. Employers need a competent, trained workforce that can learn quickly and continually adapt to the change demanded by innovations. This is critical to our country’s ability to successfully compete in the world marketplace. As Commissioner, I will continue to work with others to finds ways to meet the current and future needs of employers and job seekers.  

In my second term, I will:

  • Maintain my efforts with the Tri-County Workforce Investment Board, which partners with PA CareerLink, Career TRACK, and other agencies that match job seekers with employers

  • Continue my work on the Youth Committee of the workforce investment board, which aims to provide summer work experiences for youth and young adults that teaches skill building and preparing for the responsibilities of working for an employer

  • Collaborate with policymakers to ensure the workforce development system will support the middle-skill workforce and teach skills that are in high demand, often leading directly to a job upon graduation

  • Work to keep employers engaged and maintaining a focus on serving less-skilled populations

  • Introduce and promote the agriculture industry to our youth and others as a business that can lead to a gratifying way to make a living or a career change; within the next decade, there will be at least 70,000 openings in the industry in PA

Workforce Development

 

Most people are surprised to learn that most American jobs are middle-skill jobs, meaning they require more education and training than a high school diploma but do not necessary require a four-year college degree. These will represent approximately 43% of the job market, compared to 25% high-skill jobs (bachelor’s degree or greater) and 32% low-skill jobs.​

Growth jobs:

  • Middle-skill jobs are the fastest growing segment of the job market 

  • Healthcare occupations that will add more jobs than any other group of occupations

  • Jobs that require technical expertise, such as engineering and science

Supporting Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Systems

 

Solutions for revitalizing rural Indiana County

Agriculture

There is a significant skills gap between requirements for jobs now and in the near future and the skill level of the current workforce. Employers need a competent, trained workforce that can learn quickly and continually adapt to the change demanded by innovations. This is critical to our country’s ability to successfully compete in the world marketplace. As Commissioner, I will continue to work with others to finds ways to meet the current and future needs of employers and job seekers.  

In my second term, my plan to support agriculture include:

  • Working with bankers who understand farming

  • Consulting with accountants who know the tax implications of long range planning and which management system works the best

  • Consulting with accountants who know the tax implications of long range planning and which management system works the best

  • Conferring with attorneys who have the skills to solve management and transition problems

  • Conferring with financial planners who specialize in helping to bring all the experts' advice together into one package

  • Conferring with financial planners who specialize in helping to bring all the experts' advice together into one package

  • Seeking help from extension specialists with Cooperative Extension who can help with budgets, cash flow projections and bias-free analysis of farm situations

  • Consulting with local leaders to promote the agriculture industry to rural youth as a career opportunity

  • Working with educational institutions to develop technical programs to teach current and future farmers how to integrate new technology that is designed to support and improve agriculture

  • Continuing the relationship with local, state and federal agencies, such as the new workforce development and training initiative through the PA Department of Agriculture

  • Maintaining my ongoing relationship with legislators to pursue policies that will continue Pennsylvania’s commitment to support agriculture; I have been doing so with the administrations of four governorships over decades since these relationships are making a difference for Indiana County

Leadership as Chair of the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force

 

In 2017, the Indiana County Commissioners established the Sustainable Economic Development Task Force. I have demonstrated my leadership by serving as Chair of the Task Force. 

The country is in the midst of a clean energy revolution in which the renewable energy sector is steadily expanding. The clean energy industry generates hundreds of billions in economic activity, and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years. There is tremendous economic opportunity for businesses that invent, manufacture and export clean energy technologies.

 

The Task Force aims to broaden our rural economy for all of its citizens in Indiana County through job creation and job training in the renewable energy sector and in sustainable and advanced agriculture practices. The results of this process will link directly into the County’s long-range Economic Development/Work Force Development Plan

The Task Force was charged with identifying new opportunities in economic development that include citizen education and job training in the following areas:

  • Renewable energy sector

  • Innovative agriculture

  • Sustainable building construction and renovation

  • Restoration and wise use of the county’s natural resources

The Task Force is unified by the efforts of a steering committee which is in collaboration with the following: 

  • Indiana County Office of Planning & Development

  • League of Women Voters of Indiana County and Pennsylvania

  • Center for Community Growth

  • Evergreen Conservancy

  • IUP Sustainability Studies Program

  • Indiana Borough

  • Indiana County Center for Economic Operations

  • Consortium of IUP

  • Chamber of Commerce

  • Indiana County Development Center

  • Indiana County Tourist Bureau

  • County Commissioner

Task Force is open to any individual who wants to participate.