January 2023 – Announced late December 2022, the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board (WFWIB) has been awarded funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to continue its two Industry Partnership initiatives for the healthcare and manufacturing industries within the Westmoreland-Fayette area.

The Westmoreland-Fayette manufacturing and healthcare industries commonly provide High Priority Occupation (HPOs), or occupations that provide stable employment, growth opportunities, are in demand, and most likely provide family-sustaining wages. HPOs additionally play a critical role in the local economy.

These 18-month projects, starting in January 2023 and ending in June 2024, will provide employer-driven opportunities for local healthcare and manufacturing business representatives to partake in convenings that address critical industry challenges and develop meaningful solutions. Such convenings will offer business partners networking opportunities with fellow representatives and community entities, workshops and seminars on best business practices and resources, panel discussions, and more.

The WFWIB additionally seeks to connect its industry partnerships to its other workforce development initiatives. Business Education Partnership efforts, for instance, will provide career development opportunities that connect businesses to youth and young adults interested in entering healthcare or manufacturing. Businesses will be able to take advantage of funding that supports internships, work experiences, job shadowing, and other career development activities at their facilities. Moreover, the WFWIB’s recently awarded Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities (WORC) grant, designed to support the entire healthcare ecosystem, will be directly connected to its Healthcare Industry Partnership to extend and enhance efforts.

The WFWIB has been planning, developing, and implementing its current Healthcare Industry Partnership and Manufacturing Industry Partnership since January 2022. Despite each partnership focusing on different industries and priorities, they share the same mission: support local businesses within the area’s two largest industries in overcoming persistent challenges.

Beyond just industry representatives, the WFWIB’s industry partnerships welcome community partners from education institutions, economic development, workforce development, and more to listen in on the conversation. From their involvement, community partners will have a stronger understanding of local employer needs and will be able to better deliver services that meet those needs. Correspondingly, employer partners will be able to grow their network of community partners and entities to further connect them to potential job seekers and workers.

Overall, the WFWIB’s Healthcare Industry Partnership and Manufacturing Industry Partnership continue to bring employer partners together for productive conversations and provide them with valuable opportunities to grow their network, best practices, and competitiveness.

Manufacturing Industry Partnership and Healthcare Industry Partnership convenings are scheduled for February, March, and April and utilize a hybrid format to ensure partners can attend regardless of location. Should an organization be interested in joining the WFWIB for upcoming meetings, please do not hesitate to reach out to WFWIB Executive Director Janet Ward by email at jward@westfaywib.org or by phone at 724-755-2145.

Read the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s official press release here.