PA Workforce Development Association is the voice of the workforce development system to key decision makers at the federal, state and local levels. PWDA serves as a liaison between workforce development professionals and state and federal government agencies. The Association also communicates the policy concerns of workforce development professionals to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Congress and serves as a point of contact and technical resource for the local workforce system.
Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) are an integral part of the federal and state public workforce system. WIBs are the cornerstone for building strong and sustainable economic growth in our communities -- therefore, it is critical for workforce professionals to keep informed about legislative and regulatory actions that affect them. PWDA helps workforce professionals remain active in building relationships with public officials and the legislators who represent their local areas by serving as a clearinghouse for relevant workforce development policies and resources.
Federal Fiscal Year 2014 Budget
Congress has also been working on a FY 2014 budget. Both chambers have passed their own budget for FY 2014, but currently neither of them seem likely to be signed into law.
The Congress must also deal with the "sequestration" issue—mandatory across the board cuts—which are scheduled to begin January 2, 2013. Without Congressional action, there will be another 8.2% cut to workforce funding likely to occur July 1, 2013. Earlier in the year, Congress passed legislation to require that the Administration develop a plan for the implementation of the sequestration. The Office of Management and Budget delivered the plan to Congress on September 14, 2012.
The Governor's and the Senate's proposed budgets included $2.5 million for a new initiative called "Keystone Works," a program to provide limited on-the-job training for the newly unemployed. Participants will be able to collect unemployment during their training. In order to establish the program, legislation was adopted by the General Assembly. HB 1539 was introduced in the House and approved by the House and the Senate. It was signed by the Governor on July 5, 2012. The PA Department of Labor & Industry has issued draft guidelines on implementation of the program, and the WIBs have responded with their comments. A pilot program will be conducted before a statewide launch occurs.