– The pressing need for employees in local businesses and manufacturing was the focus of a roundtable discussion held by the House Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) and hosted by Rep. Marci Mustello (R-Butler), at the Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School on Tuesday.
“This roundtable discussion was a great way to bring together our local manufacturers, business groups, educators and elected officials to talk about what’s being done to help our economy thrive and what still needs to be done to ensure our continued growth,” Mustello said. “I want to thank everyone who took time from their very busy schedules to join us and gave us better insight into their needs and challenges.”
The discussion included all three Butler County Commissioners, Kim Geyer, Leslie Osche and Kevin Boozel; and representatives from Butler County Chamber of Commerce; Butler County Community College; Butler County Community Development Corporation; along with manufacturers such as AK Steel, United Plate Glass, Pittsburgh Plastics, Bear Metallurgical, II-VI Inc. and Boiptechs.
Workforce development was the key topic of conversation, with most manufacturers in attendance referring to their ongoing need for workers. Two spoke about how they have 15 to 20 positions open at any given time.
Conversation also dealt with the importance of reaching students early in the types of local opportunities in career and technical education, and a desire to teach a strong work ethic and soft skills. All agreed that collaboration is achievable in order to drive resources where they are needed most.
“We want to thank Rep. Mustello for hosting the Policy Committee in Butler County and giving us the opportunity to speak with local employers about the issues that matter most to them,” said Oberlander. “Manufacturing is strong in this region, and good jobs are here. We just need to make sure that students and current job seekers are connecting to the employers to fill those positions.”
Many also noted the success of the Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School and its partnership among its seven participating school districts and the community at large. The school, which consistently ranks high statewide in its academics, works together with Butler County Community College and Slippery Rock University, to assist all types of students with their future careers.
The roundtable discussion was part of the House Republican Caucus’ Good Jobs for Pennsylvania legislative package that passed last year as a way to enhance career and technical education and get students into good-paying jobs.
House Republican members attending, in addition to Mustello and Oberlander, were Reps. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver/Butler), Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland), Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland), Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland), Tom Sankey (R-Clearfield/Cambria), Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) and Jim Rigby (R-Cambria/Somerset).
The visit to Butler County concluded with a tour of United Plate Glass, which is a major supplier of architectural glass products, and Pittsburgh Plastics Manufacturing, which manufactures a variety of foot care products and the famous Turbie Twist towel.
Representative Donna Oberlander
Representative Marci Mustello
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton