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Grants Will Support Workforce Training in High-Demand Transportation, Logistics Jobs

By Colin McEvoy on September 28, 2015

A total of $335,000 in combined grants will go toward helping prepare individuals for jobs in the transportation, distribution, and logistics industry.

A total of $335,000 in combined grants will go toward helping prepare individuals for jobs in the transportation, distribution, and logistics industry.

A total of $335,000 in combined grants will help prepare individuals for jobs in the rapidly-growing transportation, distribution, and logistics (TDL) industry.

The Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board (LVWIB) announced on Sept. 24 that Central PA Works, a funding collaborative of the PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA), has received grants to support training and job placement in northeastern and south central Pennsylvania.

A comprehensive workforce study released this summer by LVWIB and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) projects 14 percent new job growth over the next five years in the transportation industry, adding 1,900 new jobs.

“Everything we do is aligned with economic development and the integration of these systems is the direction we’re heading,” said Nancy Dischinat, LVWIB executive director. “We’re making sure sure that we understand where economic growth is going to be, so that we all understand that workforce development has to be trained in those industry sectors.”

Nancy Dischinat, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, announced a $220,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Nancy Dischinat, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, announced a $220,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

The PWDA has received a two-year $220,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, and a $125,000 grant from the Jobs for the Future of Boston, Mass. The grants were announced during an Sept. 24 event attended by roughly 50 people at LVWIB’s PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley.

The funds will be used to train 300 individuals for jobs in such occupations as commercial truck driving, certified logistics technicians and associate, diesel mechanic, and forklift driving jobs, according to Deborah Kobes, associate director with Jobs for the Future’s Economic Opportunity Group.

“It focuses on increasing access to middle-skills jobs in this important sector,” Kobes said. “We are doing this by strengthening and expanding successful TDL programs and aligning them with the required needs and industry standards. Nationally, 3,000 workers will be trained through the initiative, and that includes 300 right here in Pennsylvania.”

This effort will particularly target under-represented populations, including women. Kobes said 25 percent of the TDL training is expected to benefit to women, and that Central PA Works has been developing creative solutions to reach out to women in the industry.

Both LVWIB and the Northampton Community College will each receive $37,500 to train 30 individuals in Commercial Driver’s License Class A and B truck driving in Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Additional funds will be allotted to the Lancaster County and Luzerne-Schuylkill workforce investment boards, and the Manufacturers Associations of South Central PA.

Northeastern and central Pennsylvania are attractive locations for the TDL industry due to access along the main interstate highways (Interstates 78, 80, 81, 83), Pennsylvania Turnpike and rail system, and a location within a day’s drive of about 50 percent of the U.S. and Canadian populations and major East Coast ports.

An estimated 1,600 TDL employers are located in this region, representing more than $10 billion in sales and 68,000 jobs, according to the LVWIB. But a gap of more than 24,000 jobs is predicted over the next 10 years due to the creation of new jobs and retirements.

Average TDL earnings exceed $52,000 annually, and for every dollar invested into the sector, another $1.97 are added to the regional economy, according to the LVWIB.

Representatives of LVWIB, PWDA, Jobs of the Future, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development attended the Sept. 24 kickoff event, as did representatives of the PA Motor Truck Association and TDL employers, training partners, and individuals who have participated in the recruitment and training program. A job fair was held afterward.

Central PA Works is comprised of members representing business, workforce development, and philanthropy that work together to identify industry employment needs and align funding from multiple sources to address those needs. The group and its training partners are leveraging these grants with funding and contributions from other sources.

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