Legislation has been introduced in the state House that will create an incentive program to fund workforce-training programs through a tax credit. Representative Eli Evankovich (R-Westmoreland) authored the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Strategy Act which he says will better coordinate current workforce investment programs.
“We’ve visited dozens of businesses across the state of Pennsylvania and workforce development stands to be the most important issue that face business here in Pennsylvania that I’ve encountered.”
HB 1878 would alter current workforce programs by grouping participants who have similar skill sets, rather than by their industry type.
“You have electrical maintenance employees across virtually every type of industry well if each of those industries have their own training program that’s much duplication that doesn’t need to be there,” says Evankovich, “if you focus on the skill set, the skill set transcends the industry and that’s really what this bill is about is helping to start coordinate those workforce development programs.”
Businesses which choose to participate would then be given a tax credit for their investment in the training programs. Participating businesses would also be required to guarantee any employees that undergo training to remain on the job for at least six months after it is completed. This measure was added to the bill to prevent larger companies from cherry picking skilled employees from small businesses.
“I have seen instances where companies have machines - in the case of machining and tool and dye - they have very expensive machines that are sitting idly.” Says Evankovich, “they have orders to fill them but they don’t have the personnel available to run the machines. This will help address much of that concern, much of that problem that we have in our local economies.”
According to Evankovich, the bill would not cause an increase in government expenditures or taxes. The tax credit would however cause a reduction in available state revenue. The training programs will use existing infrastructure that would normally receive government funding which, Evankovich says, will compensate for the lost revenue.