On October 3, 2012, Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges announced, at a press conference held in Harrisburg, the formal launch of JobTrakPA. About one year ago, our colleges were awarded a U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) grant for $20 million. The USDOL funding is part of a national effort to retrain employees who lost jobs that went overseas. We are now implementing the retraining through a program we have titled JobTrakPA.
There are three elements that make JobTrakPA an important opportunity for Philadelphians. Those elements include an employer’s need for skilled workers, the skills gap that exists in matching prospective employees to jobs, and the number of Pennsylvanians who are displaced, unemployed or underemployed.
At Community College of Philadelphia, we expect to train more than 200 individuals in the course of this program. The College’s offerings will lead to positions in advanced manufacturing (such as industrial maintenance technician or electrical maintenance technician) or energy conservation (such as energy analyst or energy auditor). In addition, we are offering a health care core curriculum, for individuals with no health care experience, which can lead to some of our other health care programs.
We already have built a reputation for helping to bridge gaps in education and skills. Displaced workers who want to become JobTrakPA participants may have not been in school for a very long time, so we also have built needed support services that are missing in other skills training environments.
As one example, participants will have their own Job/Career Coach to help with every step of this training: the application process, completing course requirements and helping to get ready for employment. Students will be assisted in finding employment by working with our Job Developer.
For all of these program choices, tuition is covered by the federal grant. Depending on the specific program selected, the program length can range from a few weeks to a few months.
Our goal, as always, is to help Philadelphians who want to work and who want to be a part of these growing industries. There are nearly 15,000 Pennsylvanians who qualify under the Trade Adjustment Act eligibility requirements. We hope to make a difference in Philadelphia with this significant fast track opportunity.