Food processing companies located in Greater Hazleton and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania enjoy many benefits by operating their businesses in a region that places a prime focus on the food processing industry. These benefits include access to a Food Industry Partnership organized by the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board (L/S WIB) utilizing available grant money that assists with the cost of employee training programs.
The L/S WIB recently received another $100,000 Food Processing Industry Partnership grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Any company that is a member of the Food Processing Industry Partnership can utilize this grant money, which can pay for 65% of employee training costs. Additionally, industry partnership members can combine to form a consortium of employees from multiple companies for a training session to further reduce the costs of employee training.
For decades, food processing industry companies have found great success locating their operations in the Greater Hazleton region and throughout Northeast Pennsylvania because of prime access to major interstate highways and a highly-skilled manufacturing workforce. But a recent Regional Industry Analysis report conducted by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) showed there are numerous additional benefits for companies located in the region.
Food processing companies throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania are able to reduce their investment in training costs by taking part in a variety of apprenticeship programs that are funded by state organizations. The Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board assists companies in Greater Hazleton by offering apprenticeships that are underwritten by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Keystone Development Partnership and PA Department of Labor and Industry.
The Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship is among the many trainings available for the manufacturing sector. It provides industries in Greater Hazleton with an opportunity that helps entry-level production workers gain the knowledge and competencies needed to work in the advanced manufacturing environment and perform at a level of high productivity.
Food processing industry companies in Greater Hazleton, including Bimbo Bakeries, Cargill Meat Solutions and Graham Packaging, have utilized their proximity to a local industrial mechanical contracting firm to efficiently handle projects ranging from factory remodeling to equipment installation at their facilities.
The Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board (L/S WIB) assists Northeast Pennsylvania manufacturing companies, including those in the food processing industry, through reimbursement and apprenticeship programs that help train new employees and upgrade skills for their existing workforce.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry awarded the L/S WIB Food Processing Industry Partnership grants to support workforce training. Industry Partnerships help businesses and industries preserve their competitive edge with a highly educated and skilled workforce. Employers may be eligible to receive up to a 65% cost reimbursement for hosting classes to upgrade the skills of their existing workforce.
Food processing industry companies throughout Northeast PA can access personalized workforce training programs and resources through Luzerne County Community College’s Continuing Education Department and Center for Business Solutions and Customized Training.
A variety of educational resources are available to companies via courses on-site at the company’s location or at one of several LCCC campuses in Northeast PA, including its downtown Hazleton location.
In addition to the benefits of its strategic location and dedicated workforce, Northeastern Pennsylvania has developed into a prime location for companies in the food processing industry because of the vast educational opportunities that further help develop its workforce.
Several colleges and universities within minutes of Greater Hazleton offer education and customized training programs that are ideal for current and future employees in the food processing industry. In addition to on-site employee training programs, educational courses are available at 10 colleges across Northeastern PAThe list includes four of Penn State University’s branch campuses, Johnson College, Keystone College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Luzerne County Community College and Lackawanna College.
Northeastern Pennsylvania colleges and universities are educating the next generation of qualified, highly-skilled employees and many of those who studied trades plan to remain in the region after graduation to seek employment.
Six colleges and universities across Northeastern Pennsylvania were ranked in the Top 100 of the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual poll of best regional colleges or universities in the north. The University of Scranton, which has made the list for 23 consecutive years, came in sixth on this year’s list, followed by Keystone College (ranked 29th), Misericordia University (44th), Marywood University (51st), King’s College (57th) and Wilkes University (85th).
Pennsylvania has a rich history as one of the top manufacturing states in the country. It routinely receives high rankings in national polls for the benefits in operations, logistics and infrastructure that manufacturers, including those in the food processing industry, find when they choose to locate their businesses. Greater Hazleton amplifies those benefits through its strategic location to major transportation routes, lower operating costs and its skilled workforce.
Pennsylvania recently ranked in the top 10 in a national poll across five crucial industry categories including manufacturing, infrastructure and exports. Business Facilities’ Annual Rankings Report placed PA sixth in the “Top Manufacturing States” category, which measures employment totals for manufacturing jobs; fifth in the “Infrastructure Upgrades” category and 10th in the “Exports” category.