Lawmaker reintroduces CareerBound legislation to introduce students to career opportunities in high-demand fields
HARRISBURG – Following the governor’s announcement today that he signed an executive order to create the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center to address the skills gap and worker shortages, Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks) said he supports the governor’s plan and has been advocating for greater focus on workforce development as it pertains to training and job opportunity awareness for several years.
“I am excited that the Legislature and the administration are on the same page when it comes to the workforce development needs of our state,” said Mackenzie. “At this point, a lack of jobs is not the main problem, it is a lack of individuals with the skills needed to fill available jobs. We need to do better at working with our business community and education partners to make individuals aware of available career opportunities, the training needed for those careers, and the salary potential they can earn. The governor’s new command center should help with that collaboration, which is a positive step in the right direction.”
To view Mackenzie’s video comments, go here
Mackenzie, a member of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and vice chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee, has also reintroduced legislation he authored several years ago to help increase awareness among middle and high school students about potential career opportunities in high-demand fields. House Bill 425 compliments the governor’s workforce development agenda.
“For decades, America’s youth were told they needed to go to college and get a degree in order to get a good-paying job,” said Mackenzie. “In reality, many great opportunities exist with high salaries that do not require a four-year degree. The difficulty now is to change the cultural perception of such jobs. We are not talking only about plumbers, welders and carpenters anymore – although there is growing earning potential in those fields. We are also talking about careers in the medical and technology fields, as well as law enforcement, business, and finance. And students need to be made aware of these opportunities.”
House Bill 425, known as CareerBound, would create an innovative workforce development program that would permit trade groups, businesses, and institutions of higher learning to partner with middle and high schools to offer students early exposure to an array of career opportunities through career expos, job shadowing, internships, and other career-education integration initiatives. The Department of Labor and Industry would be charged with overseeing the programs established under CareerBound.
“I am excited to have workforce development on the front burner of the legislative agenda this year, and with bipartisan support we will be able to achieve our goals more quickly,” said Mackenzie. “We want businesses to succeed in Pennsylvania and to set up shop here because of our highly skilled workforce. However, we also want to help current and future workers succeed and find rewarding and high-earning careers.”
House Bill 425
is expected to go before the House Labor and Industry Committee for consideration.
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman