Armed with an insight into the lack of skilled workers in the Greater Reading area, in 2012 the Greater Reading Economic Partnership developed Careers in 2 Years, bringing awareness and technical training to the workforce.
Thursday afternoon, about 70 people showed up at Reading Area Community College to cheer the second phase of the campaign – Careers in 2 Years 2.0 – targeting returning veterans and anyone underemployed and unemployed to promote retraining or additional training for a technical career.
Both phases of Careers in 2 Years focus on encouraging more people to get technical training to become more qualified to score high-paying manufacturing jobs readily available in Berks County and throughout the state.
Acting Secretary of Labor and Industry, Kathy Manderino, spoke at Thursday’s event.
“In today’s economy, economic development is workforce development,” she said. “Without a skilled and ready workforce, no region can prosper in the 21st century.”
GREP has continued to partner with career and technology centers in the area to tackle the unskilled labor problem in the region and bring awareness to the critical need to nurture economic prosperity in the region.
Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, Berks Career and Technology Center and Reading Area Community College partnered with GREP to offer customizable training and retraining programs for companies or people.
Both Careers in 2 Years campaigns focus on:
• Computer-aided design and drafting.
“We need to fill the manufacturing workforce pipeline for a variety of reasons,” said Jon Scott, president and CEO of GREP. “But most importantly, we do not want to see any of our outstanding manufacturing companies … leave Pennsylvania because they cannot find enough qualified workers to keep their operations flowing.”
Other speakers at Thursday’s launch were:
Andrea Funk, CEO, Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC of Ontelaunee Township.
Dan Fogarty, executive director, Berks County Workforce Investment Board.
Marta Gabriel from the office of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.
Carol Obando-Derstine from the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
Dale Derr, director, Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs.
Stephen Waller, interim senior vice president of academic affairs, and provost, Reading Area Community College.
Greater Reading Economic Partnership was established in 2004 as Berks Economic Partnership. GREP’s mission is to lead regional efforts to attract, retain and grow business and to market Berks County as a competitive and attractive location for business.