– Rep. Matt Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) was joined by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee; Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), chairman of the House Transportation Committee; and members of both committees to discuss ways in which state Legislature can better invest in western Pennsylvania, whether it be in the form of bettering the roadways and transit systems or promoting area job growth to stimulate a healthy economy.
“The purpose of this summit is to have local businesses and organizations engage with members of our state Legislature to discuss the issues that are impacting them,” said Dowling. “The biggest problem that was discussed at today’s event was workplace development. Both local businesses/organizations and our Legislature are working together to address this issue.”
Day 1 of the 2020 Vision Summit began with the House Transportation Committee touring Charleroi’s Lock and Dam to see how it operates and what benefits it provides to the surrounding areas.
“Transportation modernization is vital to the future development of this community,” Taylor said. “What we learn here we will share with our colleagues in Harrisburg to build a better Commonwealth.”
The day continued with a public hearing hosted by the House Majority Policy Committee which addressed economic development. Two panels testified before this committee, explaining hardships hitting the local area, such as workforce development issues and job shortages, and expressed possible ways the state Legislature could help alleviate these issues, as well as what they can refrain from doing that further adds to these issues.
“Workforce development is a rising issue in our area,” said Muriel Nuttal, executive director of the Fayette Chamber of Commerce. “The biggest challenge for area businesses is finding, hiring and keeping qualified, skilled employees.”
John Andursky, from Highlands Hospital, continued by explaining how current reimbursement rates and nursing shortages are negatively impacting smaller community hospitals.
Additionally, Ben Moyer, former president of AC Moyer Company, encouragingly noted that “there still is a residual work ethic in Fayette County that can be tapped. There are workers available that are flexible, dependable and can rise to overcome challenges.”
As the hearing came to a close, concluding the first day of the 2020 Vision Summit, both the panels and the House Majority Policy Committee agreed work needs to be done to not only address the issues of workforce development and job shortages, but to promote the thousands of jobs that consistently become available for Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth.
“It is contagious the energy and passion that Reps. Dowling, Bud Cook and Ryan Warner have for Fayette County and for seeing the area become an economic engine with thriving tourism, good-paying jobs and quality education,” Benninghoff said. “The Policy Committee learned a lot about the unique attributes this region has to offer, and we will take that information back with us to Harrisburg.”
The second day of the 2020 Vision Summit will pick up Friday, Oct. 5, at 9:15 a.m., at the Ohiopyle Visitor Center, Main Street, Ohiopyle, as the House Transportation Committee participates in a roundtable discussion concerning green-streets and scenic byway programs. A tour of the Ohiopyle multi-modal project with PennDOT and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will follow. The media is invited to attend both the roundtable and the tour.
Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abby Krueger