PA’s Industry Partnerships – A Model for Maryland?
by Andrea Roethke
In 2005, Pennsylvania created a network of Industry Partnerships. The system brings employers together to strategize around common workforce needs and develop collaborative training initiatives. The state provides support for training, with matching dollars from employers. According to the Pennsylvania Fund for Workforce Solutions, over 6,300 employers have contributed over $75 million in matching funds to train more than 100,000 Pennsylvania workers through the system. In 2011, the state passed legislation formally writing Industry Partnerships into state law.
Despite the success of the program, the state has had to tighten it’s belt, and funding has dropped from a peak of $20 million to just $1.6 million this year. Now Pennsylvania is exploring the power of tax credits to leverage business investment in the program. A bill before the state legislature would allow businesses to claim a 75% tax credit for any contributions they make to Industry Partnerships, above and beyond basic matching requirements.
The plan has the potential to give a major boost to training directly linked to the needs of employers.
The Industry Partnership model merits serious consideration here in Maryland. There is certainly a precedent for industry-based work – whether through the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Health, or GWIB’s Center for Industry Initiatives. The Industry Partnership system takes the next step by integrating training with a shared public-private investment, and taking a pro-active approach to addressing skills shortages.
To learn more about Industry Partnerships visit workforcepa.com