L/S WIB helps industries train new employees and upgrade skills for their existing workforce
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.
The L/S WIB has conducted dozens of different customized training programs including basic ladder programming, robotics and automated systems, industrial math, project management and supplier quality management. They work with companies on an individual basis to design a customized training program that meets their specific needs. Past training programs have covered a variety of manufacturing occupations including industrial engineers, electronics/electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, engineering technician manufacturing, mechatronics, industrial maintenance mechanics, precision machining, computer numerical control (CNC) operators and machinists, programmable logic control, materials engineers, power supply engineers, metallurgists, graphic designers, network and computer systems administrators, computer and information systems managers, software application developers and other computer occupations.
The Hershey Company is one of several food processing industry companies in Greater Hazleton that has worked with the L/S WIB in the past. Hershey was able to expand its workforce in Hazleton and hire a number of material handlers, molding operators, chocolate operators and packers because of the customized training programs.
In addition to industry partnership resources, the L/S WIB and Keystone Development Partnership (KDP) offer assistance for companies to sponsor registered apprenticeship programs. This technical assistance walks employers from start to finish through planning a program, including finding the right apprenticeship to meet training needs to address skill requirements for the job. The L/S WIB will identify funding when available and KDP will assist with customizing the program and help document the program and assist with the application process.
The L/S WIB and KDP also offer technical assistance for an entry-level, 3,000-hour industrial manufacturing technician apprenticeship. This introduces the employee to the industry and prepares them for production. This credential can be combined with others to create a career pathway towards higher skilled positions.