On June 14, 2019, Rob Wonderling, President and CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, writes a letter urging the Members of the House Education Committee to support HB 796. This bi-partisan bill encourages partnerships between businesses and local schools, which will lead students to sustainable career paths and ultimately strengthen the future’s workforce.
Dear Chairmen Sonney and Roebuck, and Members of the House Education Committee:
I write today to offer our support for HB 796 introduced by Representatives Jared Solomon, Aaron Bernstine, and Kate Klunk and scheduled to appear before your Committee on June 17th.
This bi-partisan bill gets right to the core of one our main priorities in our GrowPA agenda: connecting high school students to alternative pathways to careers. GrowPA is an effort by Chambers of Commerce from throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with business, civic, and elected leaders, to put Pennsylvania on the right track for a prosperous 21st century. In addition to building the workforce of the future, the other GrowPA priorities are to modernize our infrastructure and innovate in healthcare technology and delivery.
While the GrowPA agenda only began in 2017, our understanding and support for innovative workforce development solutions goes back many years before that. Our Roadmap for Growth also identified “developing a trained and educated workforce” as a topline priority for our city and our region.
What we particularly like about HB796 as amended is that it empowers organizations like the Chamber as “Sponsors” to bring together local schools and businesses in partnership. We have seen in Chambers around the state that our organizations can play an integral role in making these connections. The partnerships encouraged and facilitated by HB796 will allow schools and businesses to design curriculum, acquire equipment, and obtain resources that put our young people on the path to family-sustaining careers. It brings businesses into the classroom, and students into the working world. Research around the world has shown that these partnerships benefit students and businesses alike – students get industry-recognized certifications in the comfort of their local school; businesses develop a pipeline of qualified employees for years to come.
Our members throughout the Greater Philadelphia area and businesses across the Commonwealth tell us how hard it is to find qualified workers for a wide variety of professions. Unless we start stimulating innovative ways to train the workforce of tomorrow as is proposed in HB796, those challenges will only grow in the decades to come.
We urge your support of this important growth initiative.
President and CEO