Jan. 04–A regional workforce development board has received $50,000 in state grants to pay for new partnerships that will focus on job training and collaboration.
The Next Generation Industry Partnerships grant program is administered by the state Department of Labor and Industry.
As part of that program, the Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board, which covers Beaver, Greene and Washington counties, received two separate $25,000 grants.
Ami Gatts, director of the local workforce development board, said Thursday that one of the $25,000 grants will pay for a manufacturing partnership while the other will pay for a logistics and transportation partnership.
Gatts said the money brings together industry leaders across the three counties to collaborate and problem-solve on shared issues. From manufacturers’ perspective, those issues include finding qualified workers who can pass drug tests while also creating promotional material designed to get students interested in manufacturing careers.
“They can’t find enough people to pass drug tests or people who show up to work on time,” Gatts said. “They know opportunities are coming because of Shell and opportunities to expand. But they’re also worried they don’t have the necessary workforce.”
The second partnership will focus on transportation and logistics companies concerned about similar issues. For instance, Gatts said, many freight companies are concerned about the lack of progress being made to renovate and repair the locks and dam system on the Ohio River.
Also, trucking companies such as PGT Trucking are having difficulty finding qualified drivers because of insurance and other issues.
“The fact people can’t get insured to drive trucks under the age of 21 really hampers them,” she said. “Also, there aren’t a lot of people out there with a ton of experience. Trucking companies are having a hard time finding people.”
Gatts said the partnerships are all about “bringing people together not just to find common issues, but to help one another.”
The Southwest board wasn’t the only agency to receive state grants. Twelve boards across the state were given grants totaling $375,000.
(c)2018 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.)
Visit the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.) at www.timesonline.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.