South Central Workforce Development Board

Quarterly Newsletter

June 1, 2024 - Volume 2 - Issue 2


SCPa Works received $10,000 from JFF

Fair Chance Hiring Implementation Series with Envoy
EARN & LEARN – Summer Program Coming Soon

Inside This Issue

Check out our GREAT NEWS

Read more Customer Success Stories

Check out our Industry Partnership Spotlight

Learn more on South Central PA Economy Overview and Job Posting Analytics  PG. 

Upcoming Committee & Board Dates

Administration and Finance Committee Meeting

June 13, 2024, at 8:30 am

Executive Committee

June 20, 2024, at 8:30 am

Board of Directors

June 27, 2024, at 8:30 am

All Committee Meetings are held at 4201 Crums Mill Road, Suite 100A, Harrisburg, PA 17112. The June 27, 2024, Board of Directors Meeting will be held VIRTUALLY.

SCPa Works Employee Anniversaries


Judy Santiago, Program Officer – 2 YEARS


Jesse McCree, Chief Operating Officer –  9 YEARS


Christine Bonneau, Operations Specialist –  7 YEARS

Matthew Ross, Business Services Program Manager –  6 YEARS

Cynthia Picht, Senior Industry Specialist  –  6 YEARS

Holly LeMaster, Software Specialist –  5 YEARS

Blue Festive Happy New Year Poster (1)


SCPa Works staff attended the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals 40th Annual Conference held in San Antonio, Texas


Fair Chance Implementation Series with Envoy

SCPa Works recently collaborated with Envoy to provide Fair Chance employment guidance and implementation support to construction companies in South Central PA. The Series content was delivered by the Envoy team across five 90-minute modules between Feb 13, 2024, and May 7th, 2024. The goal of the Series was to work with a cohort of employers to collaboratively expand and improve Fair Chance practices by setting a foundation of knowledge around Fair Chance employment and supporting employers as they identified internal policy change, community partnerships, and measurement goals within their distinct Fair Chance employment journeys.

The content for the Series included five modules; four were conducted virtually, and one was facilitated in person, which covered a variety of topics related to Fair Chance employment. In these 90-minute sessions, participants were led through a combination of instructional content, guest speakers, implementation activities, and facilitated discussion. Utilizing Envoy’s customized course management system, the Fair Chance Hub, employer participants had access to all of the session agendas, guest speaker lists, implementation activities, resources, and presentation decks.

The Series was well received by employer participants, with all respondents answering they would be Likely or Extremely Likely to recommend the Series to a fellow employer. All respondents rated the facilitation of the Series as Excellent, with half of respondents preferring virtual facilitation, and the other half preferring in-person
facilitation. Most importantly, all participants finished the Series indicating that they now felt they had the tools and information to begin implementing Fair Chance practices within their company.

Envoy provided each employer with a customized resource packet, such as the Community Partnership Process Map, the Working Group Guide, or the FAQ resource, to address their particular internal and external challenges.

“Modern investment by Workforce Development Boards means using all the tools at our disposal to advance Fair Chance employment with companies in our regions.”

Click here to read more about our partnership with Envoy

SCPa Works receives a $10,000 award from Jobs for the Future 

SCPa Works received a $10,000 grant from the national Jobs for the Future (JFF) Workforce Communities of Action, one of only four workforce boards in the country to receive the funding. Funding will support SCPa Works’ investment in evaluation and impact tools as well as capacity building in strategic fund diversification.

SCPa Works has consistently aligned its efforts with the overarching goal of Jobs for the Future to transform the U.S. education and workforce systems for equitable economic advancement. Over the past 40 years, JFF has played a pivotal role in removing barriers to quality employment and fostering better lives through partnerships across various sectors, focusing on opportunity creation, program quality, integrating learning with work, and strengthening regional economies. 
SCPa Works has actively participated in these transformative efforts, particularly through the “Workforce Communities of Action” initiative supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. This initiative champions community-centered, equity-driven solutions to workforce challenges, emphasizing collaboration, strategic problem-solving, and human-centered design principles.
In leveraging this award, SCPa Works is committed to further evaluating and expanding access to employment and training services for job seekers in South Central, Pennsylvania, and offering high-value, market-ready services to businesses focused on upskilling and reskilling their workforce.

SCPa Works is proud of our collaborative work with JFF to improve economic mobility for job seekers in our region,” says CEO Jesse McCree. “JFF has provided us expertise, resources, and best practices to help us continue to transform the power & platform of what workforce boards do to help create a region where the opportunity for growth and prosperity exist for business and workers.”

Jobs for the Future is a national organization focused on equitable economic advancement in education and the workforce. SCPa Works collaboration with JFF will focus on ways to build strategic partnerships necessary for human-centered design and delivery, support the creation of quality jobs for those facing barriers to employment and training, uphold diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility concepts and principles, and align activities with key regional workforce priorities.

National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) Presentation on using AI for Skills-Based Hiring


In March 2024, I was invited to speak alongside of Alison Lands (Head of Partnerships for SkyHive) at the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) on the recent partnership that SCPa Works has developed with SkyHive to bring AI to skills-based hiring in our PA CareerLink® programs.

Amidst a backdrop of historically low unemployment and evolving dynamics in recruiting and hiring, we have embarked on a transformative journey with SkyHive. Their collaboration aims to enhance the way talent connects with opportunities, focusing on utilizing AI to refine client recommendations and service alignment across various stages, including intake, career coaching, and employer services.

This partnership signifies a significant step towards leveraging technology to make workforce development more accessible to all, acknowledging the critical role of technological advancements in today’s employment landscape. This partnership with SkyHive serves as a testament to the feasibility and benefits of integrating AI into workforce development strategies.

By demystifying the implementation process, SCPa Works is not just reimagining its operational framework but also setting a precedent for how workforce boards can adapt to the technological age, ensuring they remain at the forefront of connecting talent with opportunity in an increasingly competitive market.

Jesse McCree, CEO


SCPa Works



Anchor Economy Dashboard from the Philadelphia Fed highlights regional strengths –  See the full article here.

Generative AI: A Turning Point for Labor’s Share? – See the full article here.

Research on measuring durable skills – Find out more about Durable Skills here.

Research: Burning Glass Institute and SHRM Report – Download the full report from The Burning Glass Institute here.

Strada: “Talent Disrupted” report – See the full article here.

Career Pathways Maps and Virtual Mentors Help Adult Learners Chart Their Success in South Central Pennsylvania’s IT Sector

“There are more than 1,000 IT job openings per month in SCPa Works’ region. They offer good entry-point wages while also anchoring rewarding career pathways. But despite their quantity and quality, lack of access and even awareness among adult learners are challenges that have prevented the region from realizing the full potential of its growing IT sector.”

Click here to read the full article by CAEL on their Pathways Blog

Re-Entry Success with Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CBI)

A cohort of EARN participants are engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CBI). Consisting of four EARN participants and one public participant, all of whom were previously incarcerated at some point in their lives and are working on finding employment. The cohort has participated for four weeks, and all five have been actively attending classes for six hours per week. During these classes, they learn strategies for identifying and managing high-risk situations related to obtaining and retaining employment. The curriculum heavily emphasizes skill-building activities to assist with cognitive, social, emotional, and coping skill development. We have seen the skills being learned put into practice during the workshops themselves. Recently, there was a situation during a class that caused feelings of anger and embarrassment. As a class, they could work through the situation as it happened and apply the skills they had been learning throughout. This has shown that what they are learning will be beneficial not only in the workplace but in their personal lives as well.

More CBI Success

Tonya Hunter, a wonderful Career Advisor in York County that has been working closely with participants enrolled into PCCD, conducted Cognitive Behavioral Intervention workshops at York County Prison. Tonya was working with two participants who completed the six-week course; although initially reserved, the two women gradually opened up and actively engaged in discussions, demonstrating their newly acquired skills through role-playing exercises.

The training program focused on addressing life histories and lifestyle factors that contribute to high-risk behaviors leading to incarceration. The women courageously confronted their past emotions, behaviors, and risky thought patterns. They identified triggers that led to trouble and learned strategies, coping mechanisms, and new perspectives to minimize negative outcomes.

Creating an achievement resume proved to be a challenging task for the women, as they found it difficult to highlight their accomplishments amidst their past mistakes. However, by the end of the training, both participants expressed confidence and gratitude for the opportunity to take part in the CBI program. An individualized success plan was developed to help them achieve their future goals of maintaining employment and relationships. The women seem empowered and ready to take on their future.

And, Incentives for Completion of CBI

EARN program participants, upon completion of Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (CBI) workshops, have an opportunity to receive a stipend.  Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Employment (CBI-EMP) is designed for criminal and juvenile-involved individuals who are in moderate to high need in the area of employment. The curriculum integrates CBI with more traditional employment approaches. The program teaches individuals how to identify and manage high-risk situations related to obtaining and maintaining employment. 


Get Ready for our Summer Earn & Learn Program!

We are currently accepting applications for the Summer Earn and Learn program, which will give youth ages 14-24 an opportunity to gain exposure in a career field of their interest. Before starting the employment opportunity, the youth will receive essential educational training in areas such as job readiness, professionalism, necessary soft skills, and learning about the various career pathways available to them. Starting July 1st, for six weeks, at $15.00 per hour, these participants will have the opportunity to be engaged in beneficial and meaningful employment that can help shape their future career choices. This opportunity not only benefits the participant, but also the employers. Through this program, employers are getting assistance with their job needs, while the participant’s wage is paid through the PA CareerLink®. This is also an opportunity for employers to mentor and educate our future workforce professionals.

We are still welcoming employers to participate in this great work-based learning opportunity! All employers will receive an orientation before participant placement and can hire individuals directly once the six-week program is complete.

Please see the links below to sign up as a participant or employer for our Summer Earn & Learn program.

Adult Updates

Partnering with PA Counseling 

Partnership with PA Counseling Services will provide mental health services to participants as needed during their journey throughout their participation in the program.  

In-House Credentialing

The following credential programs have been submitted for request to be provided within the EARN Program for the participants. The credential programs that were approved by the Department of Human Services and Bureau of Employment Programs are Distribution and Warehouse Management Training, OSHA 30 Hour General Industry Training in English and Spanish, and ServSafe Manager Online Course & Exam in English and Spanish.

Expanding Access

SCPA Works and Equus are working to create a program where participants can utilize/borrow a laptop while they are working through one of the credentialing programs. Upon completion of the credential program, the participant can keep the laptop. More information is coming soon!

Success Stories


Bryan started his journey in the WIOA Program in December 2023. He was homeless and residing in a local Emergency shelter. Bryan also faced a transportation barrier: He only had a bicycle. I began working with him in January as his Career Advisor. At our second meeting, Bryan shared that the shelter informed him that he had to secure employment within 30 days. If he didn’t, he would be facing eviction.

Bryan did not let that keep him down. He was dedicated and very determined to find employment and start rebuilding his life. Through the help of the Business Service Consultant (BSC) and myself, Bryan was provided with a list of local warehouses that were hiring and a professionally formatted resume. At the end of that meeting, Bryan went straight to the Computer Resource Center (CRC) and began submitting online applications. His positive attitude and drive were infectious.

Finally, in February 2024, with 1 week left, Bryan secured full-time employment.  This new job came with benefits and a self-sustaining wage.  Bryan began working in March.  Fast forward to May, I called Bryan for his 1st quarter retention follow-up.  Bryan shared that he made it out of the Emergency shelter and is now residing in his own place.  He is also able to finally start saving up to buy a vehicle.  As Bryan’s Career Advisor, it was amazing to see the perseverance in Bryan to flourish and overcome multiple barriers & hardships.  Bryan made all this happen with hard work and dedication.


Jessica’s Journey to Recovery and Professional Fulfillment

Jessica’s story is one of resilience, determination, and triumph over adversity. Battling alcohol abuse and facing significant transportation barriers and childcare issues, Jessica refused to let her circumstances define her future. Through unwavering commitment and support, she emerged victorious, achieving her dream of working in the medical field as a nurse aide.

Jessica’s journey began with EARN, she knew she needed help to overcome her barriers and reclaim control of her life. EARN provided her with resources such as RENEW and Business Services as well as meetings with facilitators to work with her resume to help give her the stability and confidence she needed to start job searching. With courage and humility, she sought assistance from local support groups and treatment centers, determined to break free from the grips of addiction. Through counseling, therapy, and a steadfast commitment to sobriety, Jessica embarked on a path of personal transformation.

However, Jessica’s challenges extended beyond her battle with alcohol. Living in an area with limited public transportation options, she faced significant obstacles in accessing essential services, including employment opportunities. Despite these hurdles, Jessica remained undeterred, refusing to let transportation barriers derail her aspirations.

With a newfound sense of purpose and determination, Jessica pursued her passion for healthcare. While transportation remained a persistent challenge, Jessica refused to let it impede her progress. After numerous interviews and setbacks, Jessica’s determination finally paid off. She was able to obtain childcare assistance with CCIS and landed a job as a nurse aide at a local nursing home, fulfilling her lifelong dream of working in the healthcare industry.

Today, Jessica’s journey serves as a testament to the power of resilience, perseverance, and the human spirit. By overcoming alcohol abuse and transportation barriers, she not only reclaimed her life but also found fulfillment and purpose in her career as a nurse aide. Jessica’s success story inspires others facing similar challenges, reminding us that with dedication, support, and unwavering determination, anything is possible.


Facilitator: Matthew Ross, SCPa Works Business Services Program Manager

Participant: Hasibullah Z.

Matthew: First of all, I would like to formally congratulate you on your new role.  I oversee the service delivery component of Emily (York) and her Business Services Team.  It is an expectation to receive at least one success story a month to ensure Emily and her team are upholding the vision we have set forth – you are an example of that success, so I want to thank you.

Hasibullah: Thank you so much, Matthew.  It is a pleasure to be connected with you through the Business Services Team. Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you.

Matthew: Thank you, Hasibullah.  I will try to keep this as informal as I can, yet I do have a set of questions to keep myself on track.  First question – Can you tell me about your current role, and how it is going so far?

Hasibullah: I am working as a Structural Designer with G.P.I.  This role is basically engaging with the design of buildings, more specifically, using structural design using applicable courses and standards using building surveys, and existing condition assessments.  Ninety percent of the work is in the office, doing design, calculation, and repair assessment for both State and private clients. 

Hasibullah: In the beginning it was a bit challenging, but I have the work experience through my work back in Afghanistan.  Coming into the new context and learning a new set of software to be used and also learning new standards and codes took me about a month to get used to, but I am thankful to have good colleagues and a good manager.  So, once I learned the new tools and software, I was able to start with a few projects. Day by day, my understanding is increasing while the work is becoming more complex, but the company feels as though they can put me on those projects.  Overall, I would describe everything as going well, and I am satisfied.

Matthew: That’s great, and this is a fascinating story of how your skills were able to translate into what you are currently doing.  To have a company who is willing to support you and give you a chance to grow in your job, that is exactly what we want to see. 

Matthew: You essentially answered my next question, with how you feel you are being treated by your colleagues and management.  Is there anything you would like to elaborate on?

Hasibullah: Absolutely.  I am currently working out of the Mechanicsburg office, G.P.I. has a total of 4 offices.  I work in the Buildings department along with my manager, where we have the Transportation and Design team.  We have software that allows me to be in constant communication with all of my team.  In the beginning, I was traveling to Scranton once a week so we could get to know each other. Now, I am meeting with the team once a month, and my colleagues have been extremely helpful and professional.

Hasibullah: My manager has been looking to create more opportunities for me, potentially including me in new work that includes the design of dams.  The opportunities that have come around are really encouraging.

Matthew: This is very good, thank you.  Your experience so far as an employee has been great.  My next question – can you speak to the road you took, which led you to the PA CareerLink® for services?

Hasibullah: Yes. When I came back to the US, it was in February of 2022.  I was going through the process of immigration. The resettlement agency (International Services) I was working with had a link to the PA CareerLink®.  The office had an understanding of the PA CareerLink®.  I was in a condition of shock and never expecting to have to come to the US, but I was told about programs that could help me relaunch my professional career.  I completed the forms and requirements at the Harrisburg PA CareerLink® location.  After that, we began the process of looking for opportunities.

Matthew: Wonderful! It is important for our community to understand that PA CareerLink® is full of opportunities. You are an example of one who learned about those opportunities, which led you to a path of additional resources. 

Matthew: You spoke about your road which led to you to the PA CareerLink®, can you please rate your PA CareerLink® experience?  You do not have to give a firm rating, but if you could give an idea of what that would be for the resources and staff?

Hasibullah: It was absolutely smooth and systematic, from filling out the application and creating an account on the PA CareerLink® website.  Emily regularly shared opportunities that matched up with my resume and background, gave me the opportunity to apply for a position, and helped throughout the process.  I think it was very smooth and professional. 

Hasibullah: In the meantime, I feel it is not just the professional work.  I was seeing Emily and the team were feeling someone who was in need of help.  I felt that process is very important, professionally and emotionally. It was touching, and it was really a great experience.

Matthew: Thank you so much.  If Emily told you what to say during this interview, please let me know, you are in a safe space!  In all honesty, this is really good and I appreciate you sharing this.  This is our goal to hear such good things coming from Emily and her team, but this is the first time I had the chance to hear it from someone who worked with the team. 

Hasibullah:  You know, you get a feeling throughout the process when you work with people.  You can tell they take their job professionally, and they are trying to help you.  This is just a reflection of that.

Matthew: Well, thank you again for sharing that!  So, next question – you said your experience with the PA CareerLink® has been smooth, but did you come across any challenges or bumps in the road along the way?  Whether it be in spots during your enrollment…anything?

Hasibullah: No, actually. I was getting a list of opportunities and was able to understand all of the opportunities and how they matched with my previous experience and what I was looking for in the future.  It was always smooth and without any pressure, giving me the chance to choose whichever opportunity I came across.

Matthew: Wonderful, thank you.  It is our goal to make this portion from coming to the PA CareerLink®, to enrollment, to getting a job as smooth as possible.  We want to hear more of these stories, to further understand how we can not make things insurmountable for an individual and put more on their plate than needed.  It can be stressful trying to get back into the workforce, so we want to make sure this process is as smooth as possible.

Matthew: I only have one more question.  If you could give any words of advice to someone perhaps following a similar path that led you to the PA CareerLink®, whether it be advice or encouragement, what would it be?

Hasibullah: In my experience, I would say having constant contact with the PA CareerLink® team.  Seeing what opportunities are coming and feeling comfortable with those options.  When the right opportunity comes, it is important to reach out to the team and ask for help.  I think having the patience and looking into the opportunities will help with the process.

Matthew: Thank you again; I really appreciate your time.  I want to make it a goal to interview more individuals, to hear what is happening throughout our community.  It is important to hear the work being done from the back end to the front end.  Hearing this is very important, as it could help us better plan processes in the future.  Kudos to you for securing your role.  You have Emily’s contact information, and you have my contact information if you ever come across an individual who you feel would benefit from our services.

Hasibulla: Absolutely. Thank you for the opportunity and for speaking with me.  Thank you to Emily and everyone engaging in this process. 

Hasibullah: Last thing – I think for someone coming from another Country, and seeing it from this angle, I feel this is a very important program.  A lot of people are coming over, but they are unsure of how to get back to their professional lives.  They just need to be introduced to the right place.  From that perspective, I feel this program is crucial. 

Industry Partnership Spotlight

Industry partnerships provide a platform for employers to collectively address workforce challenges, skills gaps, and talent shortages.  Through this model, SCPa Works works with companies to identify common training needs, develop industry-specific skills programs, and support workforce development initiatives to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce for our region.  Here are some exciting training programs we are working on right now through our Industry Partnerships:

Manufacturing Industry Partnership

2024 Pre-apprenticeship Graduates – Ceremony Attendees

The Manufacturers’ Association recently concluded its 7th program year for their high school Pre-Apprenticeship Program with a graduation ceremony hosted at Penn State York’s campus during National Youth Apprenticeship Week.  The Association’s Pre-Apprenticeship program introduces high school students to advanced manufacturing occupations in seven different trades and provides opportunities to pursue high-wage, in-demand careers.  The program includes students from York, Lancaster, Perry, Chester, Dauphin, Cumberland, and Lebanon Counties, including the Milton Hershey School and the County Career and Tech High Schools.

This year, 70 students graduated from the Pre-Apprenticeship Program.  The recognition event included students receiving their state-recognized Pre-Apprenticeship credential, witnessed by invited guests, family members, program partners, and Association employers.  The program is registered with the PA Department of Labor (L&I) and has received support from the state agency to expand the program across South Central Pennsylvania.  L&I estimates that, on average, apprentices earn much higher starting wages after completion of programs and are on track to earn $300,000 more than those production workers without journey worker credentials over their careers.  Employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity for every dollar spent on apprenticeships.

The Manufacturers’ Association is on a mission to ensure that our region’s manufacturing sector not only survives but remains stronger than ever!  We exist to ensure that critical knowledge is preserved, expanded, and shared with the manufacturing professionals of tomorrow.  Founded in 1906, we are the voice of the industry for hundreds of member & non-member organizations in Central PA & Northern MD.  We support manufacturers with the knowledge they need to operate, hire, & train smarter.  

Visit our website at or our careers website at

Construction Industry Partnership

Exploring Opportunities: Lebanon County Youth Tour the Carpenters Union Training Facility in Lebanon, PA.

On April 23rd, Lebanon County’s youth embarked on a transformative exploration of construction careers at the Carpenters Union Training Facility in Lebanon, PA.  This immersive experience was an enlightening journey into the world of carpentry, craftsmanship, and other construction career possibilities for thirteen Lebanon County high school students.

Throughout the tour, our youth had the privilege of engaging with seasoned professionals and apprentices who were eager to share their knowledge and expertise.  Mentorship plays a crucial role in shaping future careers, and the students benefited from invaluable insights and advice.

They also gained a profound understanding of how learning construction skills can shape their futures.  From lucrative career paths to opportunities for entrepreneurship, the journey at the Carpenters Union Training Facility laid the foundation for a promising tomorrow.

Beyond individual growth, this experience emphasizes the importance of community impact.  Carpentry isn’t just about building structures; it’s about building communities.  Through their newfound skills and knowledge, our youth will be empowered to contribute meaningfully to the prosperity of Lebanon County and beyond.

We celebrate the enriching journey of Lebanon County’s youth at the Carpenters Union Training Facility.  Together, we embrace the spirit of exploration, innovation, and community building, paving the way for a brighter future filled with endless possibilities.

Technology Industry Partnership

Broadening Horizons: South Central Industry Partnership creates technology career opportunities with the Junior Achievement Virtual Career Exploration Opportunity for 11,000 Middle and High School Students in South Central PA

Unlocking the door to future career paths can be an exhilarating yet challenging endeavor for young minds.  In South Central PA, we’re thrilled to introduce a groundbreaking initiative to provide 11,000 middle and high school students with a transformative virtual career exploration opportunity for technology careers from March to June.  Through this program, students will embark on a journey of discovery, gaining insights into a wide array of technology professions right from the comfort of their classrooms.

Central to this initiative is a virtual career fair designed to replicate the excitement and dynamism of traditional career expos in a digital format.  Students can access virtual booths representing various companies, organizations, and educational institutions across South Central PA.  They can explore these booths, interact with representatives, and gather information about career paths and opportunities.  Here is what our technology booth looks like:

To support ongoing career exploration beyond the virtual event, students can access a wealth of resources, including career assessment tools, informational videos, and education requirements at our website. highlights the top five in-demand jobs:  Help Desk, Cyber Security, Cloud Technician, Data Analytics, and Application Developer.  These resources will empower students to continue exploring their interests, setting goals, and charting their career paths long after the virtual event concludes.

This initiative is made possible through the South Central Technology Industry Partnership and in collaboration with our members from local businesses, educational institutions, and community organizations.  Our volunteers are passionate about supporting youth development and workforce readiness  Together, we’re committed to providing students in South Central PA with the tools, resources, and inspiration they need to pursue fulfilling, high-paying, and rewarding technology careers.

As we look towards the future, it’s imperative that we equip our youth with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to succeed in the ever-evolving world of work. Through this virtual career exploration opportunity, we’re empowering 11,000 middle and high school students in South Central PA to dream big, explore boldly, and embark on paths that lead to meaningful and fulfilling technology careers.  Together, we’re shaping a brighter tomorrow for our community and beyond.

Agriculture Industry Partnership

Cultivating Growth: Building an Agriculture Industry Partnership in South Central PA

In the heart of South Central Pennsylvania, where lush green landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see, a new dawn is breaking in the agricultural sector. As we navigate through the dynamic landscape of modern farming, the power of collaboration and partnership has emerged as a beacon of hope and progress.

In recent months, a groundswell of enthusiasm and determination has led to the establishment of an Agriculture Industry Partnership in our region. This alliance, forged through the collective efforts of farmers, agribusiness leaders, education organizations, and community stakeholders, marks a significant milestone in our journey towards sustainable growth and prosperity.

So, what exactly does this partnership entail, and why is it so crucial for the future of agriculture in South Central PA?

First and foremost, the Agriculture Industry Partnership serves as a platform for fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing among diverse stakeholders within the sector. By bringing together farmers, producers, distributors, researchers, and policymakers, we create a dynamic ecosystem where innovative ideas can flourish and best practices can be disseminated.

One of the key objectives of this partnership is to address the pressing challenges facing our agricultural community.  Businesses sit at the center of the table to address workforce challenges, skills gaps, and talent shortages. Through pilot projects, and educational programs, we aim to develop sustainable solutions that promote a skilled and qualified workforce for our ag community.

Moreover, the Agriculture Industry Partnership plays a pivotal role in advocating for the interests of our farming community at the local, state, and federal levels. By speaking with a unified voice and leveraging our collective influence, we can shape policies and regulations that support the growth and vitality of agriculture in our region.

But perhaps most importantly, this partnership is about building relationships and fostering a sense of belonging and solidarity within our agricultural community. In an era marked by rapid change and uncertainty, the bonds of trust and cooperation that we cultivate today will serve as the foundation for a brighter and more prosperous tomorrow.

As we embark on this journey together, I urge each and every one of you to embrace the spirit of collaboration and innovation that defines our Agriculture Industry Partnership. Whether you are a seasoned farmer, a budding entrepreneur, or a passionate advocate for agriculture, your participation and contribution are invaluable to our collective success.

In the words of an old proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Let us come together as one united force, bound by our shared love for the land and our common vision for a thriving agricultural future in South Central Pennsylvania.

Economy Overview

  • Regional Employment is 729,207, an approximate increase of 5,000 over the last quarter
  • As of January 2024, the Regional Labor Force Participation Rate is 62.62%, a slight decrease from the 63.73% rate last quarter
  • The Region’s Unemployment Rate is 2.8%, below the State’s Unemployment Rate of 3.4%

Job Posting Analytics

  • A total of 6,886 jobs with an average wage of $52,100 were posted among 1,669 employers
  • Average length of a job posting in the SCPa Region is 16 days
  • 32% of job postings over the past 90 days require no more than a High School Diplomaor GED
  • 17% of job postings over the past 90 days require a Bachelor’s degree
  • 41% of job postings over the past 90 days require no more than 3 years experience
  • UPMC and The Commonwealth of Pa are two of the region’s largest employers, and have posted the most job opportunity

Contact Us

Auxiliary aides and services are available to individuals with disabilities. Equal Opportunity Employer/Program

South Central Workforce Development Board

Quarterly Newsletter

March 1, 2024 - Volume 2 - Issue 1


Growing our impact in reentry/justice-involved programs
LEARN & EARN – Virtual Reality Paid Work Experience Program

Inside This Issue

Check out our GREAT NEWS

Read more Customer Success Stories

Check out our Industry Partnership Spotlight

Learn more on South Central PA Labor Market Analysis and Research Corner PG. 

Upcoming Committee & Board Dates

Administration and Finance Committee Meeting

March 21, 2024, at 8:30 am

Executive Committee

March 28, 2024, at 8:30 am

Board of Directors

April 4, 2024, at 8:30 am

Youth / Program
Committee Meeting

April 30, 2024, at 8:30 am

All Committee Meetings are held at 4201 Crums Mill Road, Suite 100A, Harrisburg, PA 17112. The April 4, 2024, Board of Directors Meeting will be held at the Capital Region PA CareerLink®  – 100 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

SCPa Works Employee Anniversaries


Whitney Matthews, Compliance Officer – 2 YEARS



Katie Lentz, Chief Operating Officer –  7 YEARS

Stephanie Predko, Director of Programs –  4 YEARS

Nicola Overton, Program Officer –  2 YEARS



I am honored to have been appointed to serve on The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Economic and Community Advisory Council (ECAC). Established in 2008, the ECAC comprises a diverse array of leaders representing businesses, nonprofit organizations, philanthropic entities, academic institutions, the public sector, and organized labor. This council plays a pivotal role in advising the senior leadership of the Philadelphia Fed on emerging economic trends, community issues, and market conditions within the Third Federal Reserve District. Furthermore, the ECAC actively fosters inclusive regional economic development through collaborative partnerships with both private and public sector organizations.

Within this council, my work will primarily be assisting the Federal Reserve Bank in identifying and analyzing crucial economic and labor market dynamics across Pennsylvania. This entails a focus on key indicators such as labor force participation rates, employment figures, and the needs of the ALICE population (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). By closely monitoring and understanding these trends, I’ll aim to provide valuable insights that inform policy decisions and initiatives.

Moreover, our involvement with the Philadelphia Fed’s Economic and Community Advisory Council signifies a significant step forward in advocating for equitable economic growth and comprehensive labor market analysis. It is my commitment to bring viewpoints and perspectives from SCPa Works, our community partners, and the business community to the ECAC in an effort to highlight the strengths and opportunities for our region.

Jesse McCree, CEO


SCPa Works

Jobs for the Future and JPMorgan Chase Foundation Award SCPa Works $10,000

In 2023, JFF, with support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, selected 20 state and local workforce development boards across the country to participate in an opportunity to make meaningful, lasting change in their communities by devising innovative solutions to challenges that impact regional economies. The workforce boards selected to take part in this experience are known as Workforce Communities of Action. They engaged in a strategically designed and facilitated process for collaboratively thinking about and solving problems through a variety of critical lenses. SCPa Works was fortunate to be one of 20 boards from across the nation to participate in this collective learning series. 
Upon completion of the program, JFF selected several of the participating boards to receive $10,000 to invest in activities, capacity building, and/or research that support their planned approach to addressing a regional workforce challenge. As an award recipient, SCPa Works will work collaboratively with JFF and a team of subject matter experts to design, plan, and/or secure additional resources for implementation of strategies that address a workforce challenge.
  • Collaboration will focus on ways to:
    • Build strategic partnerships necessary for human-centered design and delivery,
    • Support creation of quality jobs for those facing barriers to employment and training
    • Uphold diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility concepts and principles, and
    • Align activities with key regional workforce priorities.


We know that part of our role and impact in the community is significantly contributing to ensuring that our region is a place for all people to pursue opportunities for economic well-being. In the latest edition of our newsletter, we’re spotlighting our commitment to empowering justice-involved individuals through reentry programs, aiming to foster economic well-being and community integration.

SCPa Works is at the forefront of workforce boards across the country in this space. We emphasize a holistic approach to serving justice-involved individuals: providing vocational training, educational support, and mental health services tailored to this demographic’s unique needs.

Over the past few years, our focus on service justice-involved job seekers has yielded a number of grant programs that catalyze our work across the region. SCPa Works has successfully received a number of grants that are supporting this population, including the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Women’s Reentry program and a strategic investment grant used to partner with Envoy, a thought leader in the space of fair chance hiring.

How are we measuring success? As we’ve brought on program staff to help us think through and measure impact, we’ve outlined a number of key metrics to analyze, including employment outcomes, reduced recidivism rates, and qualitative program feedback from participants.

As a snapshot of some of our program success in this field, our RENEW Program (PCCD Women’s Reentry Program) of $100,000 has yielded these very promising results:

  • 52 enrollments (grant goal of 30)
  • No participant has reoffended
  • Supported 45 participants with supportive services of $20,000

Investing in holistic programs for justice-involved job seekers is not just about training. Incorporating supportive services such as mental health programs and financial literacy is essential for their successful reintegration into society. Success metrics, like employment outcomes and reduced recidivism, underscore our program’s impact, highlighted by the RENEW Program’s achievements.

As SCPa Works continues to emphasize holistic programs that support justice-involved individuals, I am incredibly proud of the work our team and partners have done to advance this work and become an example of how impactful workforce development boards can be in advancing economic mobility for all people across our region.

RENEW Program

York County Prison has been a great partner while working hard to implement cognitive behavioral intervention workshops for their female population, thanks to our grant through PCCD. These workshops aim to provide skills to assist these women in understanding what thoughts and behaviors lead to negative consequences and provide them with a new way of dealing with issues and relationships in everyday life.

The Facilitator engaged the women from York County Prison to participate in discussions and role-plays and continue practicing what they’d learned outside of class. They shared their life experiences and changes that they’ve seen in themselves throughout each session, noting that what they’ve learned has been helpful when dealing with risky thinking, behavior, and challenging people even while still incarcerated.

Some women have been released since the workshops ended and are still following up with their facilitator through the PA CareerLink®. These women are working through the challenges that come with being recently released. Between our services and our relationships with our community partners, we ensure they receive the holistic services they need to find stable, sustainable employment and succeed post-release.

SCPa Works Program and Strategy Staff Participate in Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab Results-Driven Contracting Sprint

Through an opportunity provided by The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, SCPa Works staff are participating with boards across the Commonwealth on an eight-week sprint focused on results-driven contracting. The GPL’s framework for procurement excellence focuses on the following:

  • Efficient and Fair-Transforms the procurement process to be efficient, inviting, and transparent
  • Results-Driven-Improves the outcomes of contracted programs, products, and services
  • Equitable- Invests in equity to improve economic mobility and achieve better outcomes for historically marginalized populations
  • Strategic- Elevates and resources procurement as a strategic function

Each participating board chooses a future RFP to utilize as their applied project for the sprint. SCPa Works is focusing on a future WIOA Out of School Youth RFP.

Employer Learning Series – Creating Recovery-Friendly Workplaces in York County, Pennsylvania

SCPa Works is seeking quotes from interested entities to collaborate on an Employer Learning Series focused on creating recovery-friendly workplaces in York County, PA. As a result of funding provided by the York County Opioid Advisory BoardSCPa Works, and the chosen entity will develop a variety of educational materials and engagement sessions with business partners in York County. The series will focus on:

  • Understanding Substance Abuse and Recovery
    • Overview of substance abuse issues
    • Understanding the recovery process
  • Creating a Supportive Workplace Culture
    • Fostering a stigma-free environment
    • Promoting empathy and understanding
  • Implementing Recovery-Friendly Policies
    • Developing and implementing policies that support recovery
    • Balancing workplace safety and inclusion
  • Providing Resources and Support
  • Identifying community resources
  • Offering support mechanisms for employees in recovery 
  • Interactive Workshops and Q&A Sessions
    • Conducting interactive workshops for employers
    • Facilitating Q&A sessions to address specific concerns


Equus Workforce Solutions has been working diligently with the OSY (Out-of-school youth) population to provide them with opportunities to engage in Paid Work Experiences (PWE).  This is an opportunity for youth to gain training and experience various high-demand fields through Virtual Reality (VR).

Here is how it works. Every week, the participant meets with an assigned Career Advisor at the PA CareerLink®. Oculus Headsets are available for participants to use and gain exposure to several career paths. The virtual PWE experience offers career pathways in various areas, such as Health sciences, manufacturing and construction, aviation maintenance, hospitality and tourism, and automotive technician. Upon completion, the participant receives a stipend for their training hours. Participants continue to meet with a Career Advisor to discuss their career goals and determine if any of the career pathways they experienced through VR are of interest to them.  A great opportunity for youth participants to learn about careers using technology that is exciting to them.


Equus Workforce Solutions

We want to send a great big shout-out to Equus Workforce Solutions for their hard work in engaging Out-of-school youth in the Virtual Paid Work Experience program!  Aaron Behrman and his staff have been working diligently to encourage OSY participants to learn more about this learn-and-earn opportunity. Since the start of this initiative, 4 participants have fully completed the program!

Harrisburg University

We would also like to congratulate Harrisburg University on the PWE opportunities provided to participants!  They have had several participants working with professors in their classrooms.  This has allowed the participants to get hands-on experience teaching and engaging with students to help them learn.  Professors have shared that being involved in this program has helped the participants and the Professors by allowing them to have more one-on-one time with the students in their classrooms.

Crispus Attucks

SCPa Works would like to welcome the newest Career Advisor to the Crispus Attucks family, Ms. Mylea Thompson. Her experience as a Work Ready Education Facilitator and her various mentoring roles will certainly be a great asset to their organization. In only a few weeks, Ms. Thompson has jumped in and is building rapport with the participants and engaging them in services.  We appreciate her hard work.

Adult Updates

Classroom Training Partnership Highlight – PA Petroleum – HVAC training

Numerous participants have begun training, and through PA Petroleum, participants can secure employment in their field of interest through their membership network of potential employers. Eligible participants interested in HVAC training and in need of assistance can receive scholarship funding from PA Petroleum.

Google Classroom for EARN Participants

Google Classroom is a set of online tools that allow EARN Program Facilitators to create lessons for participants. This opportunity allows easier access for staff to track program activity and participation hours.  EARN participants can watch videos, take quizzes, access program information, and more.

New Positions for EARN Program

Four New positions have been created to help facilitate EARN Program expectations. The positions include a Refugee Coordinator, Special Projects Manager, Intake Specialist, and Development Specialist.

Last year, SCPa Works was approved to allocate funding for active EARN participants to have Individual Training Accounts similar to the ITA’s within the WIOA program.  An active EARN participant could receive up to $7,000 towards a training program to obtain a certification.  All training must be completed through a provider on the ETPL list via CWDS.  The participant is expected to work with their career advisor to determine whether training is a good fit for the participant on their career path. With approval from the County Assistance Office, the participant can count their hours of attending training towards their participant hours in EARN.  A participant began training for a paralegal certification in January of this program. In February, another participant began an EMT certification training.

Community Access Point (CAP) Locations

Success Stories


Kim first came to the Employment Skills Center (ESC) in August 2023 to attend the Pre-Nurse Aide training and pursue a healthcare career. After completing the course, Kim returned to ESC to enroll in the November digital literacy class. Kim said, “My weakness is computers. When I saw this class, I was looking for help navigating basic computer courses.” When asked about her goals coming into the program, Kim shared that the class exceeded her needs. She said, “I can sit at a computer and no longer only know email. I learned security habits, spreadsheets in Excel, PowerPoint, and so much more.” When discussing how this program has impacted her life and career, Kim said, “Due to this course, I can now talk about how I have overcome that weakness. I can tell my employer the steps I have taken to improve.” Kim shared how much Maureen (instructor) made her learning experience very comfortable, allowing her to learn at her own pace. “This class truly helped my job advancement and taught me that I can learn a new skill. This class empowered me.”



Eric came to the PA CareerLink® through the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) Program and a reverse referral through PA Petroleum. Eric diligently completed every step necessary to obtain his goal of attending HVAC training. Eric completed every step without pause. Because of his diligence, Eric was able to start a training class with PA Petroleum on July 10th. Throughout his 10-week training, Eric earned extremely high praise from PA Petroleum instructors and staff, noting his dedication, punctuality, and professional approach. This approach not only earned him praise, but multiple job opportunities. Eric had no less than five interviews, with several job offers. Ultimately, Eric accepted a job with HB Home Services.  Eric is a testament to what can happen with determination and resiliency and has become an excellent example to those around him. His Career Advisor, Patrick Wade, Program Manager Leanne Demboski, and Program Director Holly Simmons attended his graduation and job signing ceremony on Sep. 15th at PA Petroleum to help celebrate Eric’s profound achievement.


PA CareerLink® participant Braydon completed a Paid Work Experience at Love Two Farm, Inc. in the fall of 2023. Through the money he earned in this Paid Work Experience, he was able to purchase a tractor. Love Two Farm, Inc. gave Braydon a space on their property to set up shop and start a tractor repair business. The employer was also able to connect Braydon with his accountant to learn financial literacy as well as the additional steps necessary to start a business. Special thanks to Jacob Conklin, PA CareerLink® Business Services Consultant for Juniata and Perry County, for your role in connecting Braydon to this opportunity!


PA CareerLink® Business Services Consultant Nathan Trindel has worked with his participant, Marc, since September 2023. Originally, Marc was interested in pursuing welding training, but due to life circumstances, he needed to secure employment as soon as possible and was no longer able to pursue welding training at the time. Nathan provided Marc with information on an upcoming job fair hosted by JLG, a day after learning of Marc’s desire to secure immediate employment. Marc attended the event, and with Nathan’s continuous follow-up with JLG on Marc’s application. Marc began work on December 18, 2023, making $18.50 an hour!


Charlene has been a participant in the Employment, Advancement, and Retention Network (EARN) Program since October 2, 2023. While attending orientation, Charlene told the EARN instructor that her passion was helping people. Since then, she has been in the forefront of participation, making sure she followed the advice of her Career Advisor and took advantage of all opportunities provided for her to maintain her weekly required hours. EARN staff noticed her passion and drive for working with people and asked if she was interested in working in the EARN office under a community service plan. She took the opportunity and began learning behind the scenes the responsibilities of being a Career Advisor and what we do to help our participants reach their goals of success. In volunteering, she had expressed interest in the job responsibilities as she learned in more detail about EARN’s day-to-day function program. She assisted with printing and filing while also learning timesheets and translating for other participants. Charlene’s help was so appreciated that when the position of Career Advisor at the Dauphin County Office became available, the EARN team did not hesitate to encourage her to apply. Charlene was offered the role of an EARN Career Advisor. Charlene began her employment as a Career Advisor on December 19, 2023.  Charlene has excelled in her new position, and we are proud to have her be a part of our team. This participant has been nominated for the 2024 Governor’s Achievement Award.


The Apprenticeship Navigators are planning an Information Session for employers interested in establishing a Registered Apprenticeship Program.  The session will be held in April at the Capitol Region PA CareerLink®.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Cynthia Picht

Industry Partnership Spotlight

Industry partnerships provide a platform for employers to collectively address workforce challenges, skills gaps, and talent shortages.  Through this model, SCPa Works works with companies to identify common training needs, develop industry-specific skills programs, and support workforce development initiatives to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce for our region.  Here are some exciting training programs we are working on right now through our Industry Partnerships:

SCPa Works and the PA CareerLink® are teaming up to meet with our agriculture community in Juniata and Perry Counties.  Please join us for a brief introduction and conversation on how we can support your business.

Contact Cynthia Picht at

The Construction Industry Partnership kicked off an Employer Fair Chance Learning Series on February 13th.  This series is designed for groups of 8-12 employers to collaboratively expand and improve fair chance hiring practices while building their network of local partners to proactively recruit candidates with past convictions. 

AI Tools for DEI in the Workplace is a three-part Employer Learning Series led by Kimeka Campbell, Ph.D., Consultant, Activist, and Talk Show Host, and Charles Palmer, Associate Professor and Program Chair of Interactive Media, Executive Director, Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies, Harrisburg University.  The first session covered myths about AI, AI Generative tools through an AI and DEI lens, how AI is allowed in the workplace, and a session on how to use these tools.  If you are interested in future sessions, please contact Debbie Kaufman at for more information or visit our website at

On March 20th, the Manufacturing Industry Partnership is hosting a Cultural Diversity Training for employers at the Manufacturers’ Association Training Center in York, PA.  The training is provided by Workplace Talent Solutions and will equip your management team with the skills to communicate more effectively with employees from different cultural and language backgrounds.  Topics covered:

  • Discuss high-context and low-context cultures and how they impact the workforce
  • Explore the difference between culture and race
  • Share strategies on how to respond to cultural differences
  • Discuss ways to improve communication with those who have limited English language proficiency

There is no cost for Manufacturing Industry Partnership members!  To register or learn more about the course:

Cultural Diversity

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Industry Partner Group, please email

Economy Overview

  • Regional Employment is 729,207, an approximate increase of 5,000 over the last quarter
  • As of September 2023, the Regional Labor Force Participation Rate is 63.73%, a slight decrease from the 64.69% rate last quarter
  • The Region’s Unemployment Rate is 3.0%, below the State’s Unemployment Rate of 3.5%
  • Our Region outweighs the national average in Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics occupations by approximately 35%
  • Our Region outweighs the national average in Production occupations by approximately 26%

Job Posting Analytics

  • A total of 3,594 employers have posted 27,005 jobs with an average wage of $58,200
  • 25% of job postings over 90 days are requiring no more than a High School Diploma/GED
  • 24% of job postings over the past 90 days require a Bachelor’s degree 
  • 34% of job postings over the past 90 days require no more than three years experience 
  • Registered Nurses remain the #1 occupation in demand, outweighing the majority of occupations in our Region 5:1

Contact Us

Auxiliary aides and services are available to individuals with disabilities. Equal Opportunity Employer/Program

South Central Workforce Development Board

Quarterly Newsletter

December 1, 2023 - Volume 1 - Issue 3

Inside This Issue

See SCPa Works Newest Awards

Read more Customer Success Stories

Check out our Industry Partnership Spotlight

Learn more on South Central PA Labor Market Analysis and Research Corner PG. 

NEW Board Member

Our newest Board Member is Jerry Succi, Director of Human Resources at A.S.K. Foods Inc. 

Born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while his father was stationed there and serving in the U.S. Navy.  He and his family were evacuated from Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and wound up living in Florida.  He attended high school in Ocala, Florida, and shortly after high school, joined the U.S. Army, serving for 21 years and retiring in 1997 as a Sergeant Major.  Jerry attended college while in the military and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services and a minor in Business from Wayland Baptist University.  After the military, he did a short stent in law enforcement with the State of Georgia before starting a career in Human Resources.


In 2000, Jerry joined a company called Guilford Mills and was an HR Manager for one of their manufacturing facilities in Greensboro, NC.  Later, he moved to corporate, where he served as the Director of Employee Relations, and later moved to Pennsylvania, where he managed a union facility while retaining his role as the Director of Employee Relations.  After Chapter 11 filing, he moved to Lebanon, PA, and joined a hardwood lumber manufacturer, Weaber Lumber, where he served as the Director of Human Resources from 2006 to 2021.  Finally, he moved to A.S.K. Foods Inc. in 2021, where he currently serves as the Director of Human Resources.


Jerry is married and has two children, a son 46, a daughter 42, and two stepchildren.  A stepdaughter, 33, and a stepson, 29.  He also has seven beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from 20 to 3 years old.  Jerry’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, and dog training.


Upcoming Committee & Board Dates

Administration and Finance Committee Meeting

Youth / Program
Committee Meeting

Executive Committee

Board of Directors

January 25, 2024, at 8:30 am

January 30, 2024, at 8:30 am

February 1, 2024, at 8:30 am

February 9, 2024, at 8:30 am

All Committee Meetings are held at 4201 Crums Mill Road, Suite 100A, Harrisburg, PA 17112. The February 9, 2024, Board of Directors Meeting will be held at the Capital Region PA CareerLink®  – 100 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

SCPa Works Employee Anniversaries


Hillary Lyle, Director of Strategic Initiatives – 5YRS

Saranne Miller, Policy Manager – 2YRS



Courtney Day, Compliance Manager –  2YRS

NEW SCPa Works Employee


Ralph Wolf

Director of Finance

Ralph Wolf joined SCPa Works as the Director of Finance on October 16, 2023. Ralph lives in Hummelstown with his wife, Kristin, and 8-year-old daughter, Libby. Ralph also has two coonhounds: Duff and Annabelle. Ralph received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Penn State-Harrisburg and his MBA from Clarion University. Ralph comes to us from Faithful at Home Care and his work history includes Keystone Human Services, the City of Harrisburg, PFM Asset Management, HACC, and Rescare/Equus/Brightspring Health Services. Ralph's hobbies include reading, gardening, taking long walks, and playing with my daughter.


SCPa Works Awards Business Education Partnership Mini-Grants to 10 Community Organizations

SCPa Works recently awarded $77,000 in Business Education Partnership Mini-Grants to local community organizations focused on building the talent pipeline for local schools and companies. SCPa Works received nearly $240,000 in requests with 18 total applicants. Awarded entities are:

Dauphin County Whole Home Repairs Program

            SCPa Works is administering the $400,000 workforce development program for Dauphin County EDC’s Whole Home Repair program, which includes support for trainees and costs related to the design and implementation of pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeships, and publicly funded on-the-job training programs. Equus Workforce Solutions has been selected to administer the program.

Economic Development Systems Connections Request for Quote (RFQ)

The Economic Development and Workforce Integration Initiative is a collaborative endeavor between SCPa Work and CREDC. This project aims to strengthen the connection between workforce development and economic development in the South Central Pennsylvania region.  The initiative recognizes that robust economic growth is interdependent with a skilled and adaptable workforce. By fostering partnerships, enhancing data-sharing mechanisms, and aligning programs, this project seeks to benefit both workforce development and economic development systems while contributing to the sustainable growth of the regional business community. 

Youth Re-Entry Contract

The purpose of this grant is to support youth reentry programs that will blend academic and occupation training, provide specific linkages to area employers in high-priority/in-demand occupations, provide needed supportive services and mentorship, and offer clear connections to education and training. Additionally, these programs will feature close working relationships between LWDBs, the PA Careerlink® system, county and/or state justice systems, community or faith-based organizations, the federal bonding program, career and technical education centers, Job Corps, and institutions of higher education. The amount to be contracted is $405,000.

Objectives include: Providing assistance to 18-24-year-olds who have had interactions with the judicial system, to find meaningful employment; Reducing recidivism and unemployment; Promoting pro-social behaviors through mentorship and job retention; Increasing exposure and training in High Priority Occupations; Enhancing connection between PA CareerLink®, county criminal justice systems, and PACTT affiliates.  Equus Workforce Solutions has been selected to administer the program.

RENEW Program

The RENEW program, made possible with grant funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, has been extended until June 30, 2023. Currently, the program has 26 enrollments, with a total enrollment goal of 30. The local prisons, specifically Adams County PrisonYork County Prison, and Capitol Pavilion, have been great partners in allowing access to come into the prisons to meet with the individuals, creating an additional layer of support and connection. Currently, the second cohort of Workforce 101workshops is taking place at Adams County; York County has completed its Workforce 101 workshops and has moved forward with CBI workshops; and Capitol Pavilion has sent individuals to the PA Careerlink® office, as well as welcomed our staff in their facilities, to complete CBI workshops. Beyond having support and encouragement from their Career Advisor, Workshop Facilitators, and other PA Careerlink® staff,  the program has been able to ease the burden that some of these women are facing by assisting with items such as bus passes, rent, insurance, and fines/restitution payments.

Unique Private-Public Partnership Brings Tech Education to Greenwood High School

“SCPa Works, PA Careerlink®, Harrisburg University, and NuPaths prepare students for tech careers through collaboration. 

MILLERSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES, September 18, 2023/ — A groundbreaking partnership is set to redefine education in Perry and Juniata Counties. Perry and Juniata County high schools, in collaboration with SCPa Works, PA Careerlink® (Business Services, and Title I Youth team), Harrisburg University, and NuPaths, proudly announce the launch of the Technical Support Specialist Program at Greenwood High School, Millerstown, PA.”

Click here to read the full article

SCPa Works and Partners Featured at National Association of Workforce Development Professionals 2023 Youth Symposium

SCPa Works, Equus Workforce Solutions, Knovva Academy, and InsideTrack were recently featured at NAWDP’s 2023 national youth symposium to highlight key innovations and promising practices related to youth programming in South Central PA. SCPa Works highlighted two South Central programs and partnerships to conference attendees:

Technology+Human Connection=A Recipe for Youth Success

Implementing a data-driven approach to community outreach paired with technology and purpose-driven staff. Key partnerships and strategies:

  • Community Access Point Model: No individual is more than 15 minutes from workforce services and staff.
  • Partnership with Knovva Academy to conduct a regional analysis of Opportunity Youth across our eight-county service region. Utilizing US Census and Department of Education data, Opportunity Youth population density and other factors were mapped to inform the best locations for Community Access Points.
  • Utilization of virtual reality to expose Youth to high-priority occupations and connect them with the workforce system for further support.
  • The importance of regional collaboration and systems connection to best serve Youth.

“If I just knew or had someone who could help me.” – Empowering Young Adults through an Innovative Mentoring Partnership From Coast to Coast

South Central PA Works and Las Vegas, NV Works have joined forces with InsideTrack, a national nonprofit, to offer virtual mentoring opportunities to youth in their region. This workshop equips participants with foundational knowledge about a coaching model that is trauma-informed and evidence-based, with practical applications in a mentoring setting. Participants learned how two workforce boards, from opposite sides of the country, implemented this pilot. Successes, challenges, and opportunities were explored.

Youth Updates

PA Careerlink® DAYS

This is an opportunity for schools from various districts to visit their local PA Careerlink® for the day and learn about the various services offered.  They also get the opportunity to learn about the VR headsets, create or get assistance with their resumes, sit down with company representatives to do mock interviews, as well as sign up for program enrollment. The hope is that the students will feel more comfortable seeking assistance from PA Careerlink® since they are now familiar with the location and faces.  In addition, they leave with flyers and other tangible information that they can share with their family and friends.


Equus Workforce Solutions is on fire with its school engagement!  The Outreach & Youth Departments have been going to schools to engage the students in the Transfer Virtual Reality program.  Every Wednesday, they have been working with a group of students at Waynesboro High School to engage them in learning about training and knowledge that will prepare them for well-paying jobs in high-demand fields.  They have school visits scheduled until February of 2024 on their calendar, as well as several job fairs and engagement opportunities.

Adult Updates


REJU application, piloted to EARN participants, is now available to all program participants. The application provides virtual mental health services for participants.


Skyhive creates a profile for participants and personalized career pathway maps for Career Advisors to have meaningful conversations with participants and provide assistance with services to help reach participant goals. The up-to-date job opportunities, including Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Workforce Development System (CWDS) job postings, Eligible Training Providers List (ETPL) postings, and other employment opportunities, are updated through the application regularly to be able to map out a profile, skills, and the steps necessary to achieve employment goals.


Participants can also access Job Scan and workshops available through the PA Careerlink®, expanding job opportunities and available postings to participants.

Community Access Point (CAP) Update

New CAP locations established PY 23’-24’ Q1 were, Cumberland County Housing Authority, Upper Dauphin County Human Services Building, and The Salem Square Association.  A recent meeting with The Brethren Housing Association, Dauphin County, has resulted in an MOU to implement a CAP, which will allow us to close the gaps to those inside the City of Harrisburg.

The most productive CAP locations continue to be the New Hope Ministries locations.  In addition to our onsite engagement, we have received a total of 14 referrals from NHM staff. Another top referral site is the York County Community Progress Council. After a presentation to the staff in September on the PA Careerlink® services, we received 21 referrals. Partnering with Upper Dauphin County’s Human Services liaison allows us a great location inside their building to meet with those individuals who face the challenge of traveling to Harrisburg for services.

Serving those touched by the justice system became our priority this year.  We became established with Lebanon County Domestics, and continue our relationship with Domestic Services in Adams County and York County. Priority has been placed on youth offenders.  We continue our partnership with Lebanon County Adult & Juvenile Probation and have met with 11 youth.

Success Stories



I hope this message finds you all in great spirits. I just wanted to drop a note of gratitude for the CBI workshops, especially to the The Reentry Specialist herself, Ms. Gina, and the amazing Ms. Holly, along with the whole CareerLink crew. 

So, about those CBI skills, you guys hooked me up with? Absolute game-changer. Seriously, I didn’t realize how handy they’d be until I found myself in some tricky work situations. But guess what? Your workshops equipped me to handle them like a pro.

Ms. Gina, your workshops were like my superhero training ground. The problem-solving hacks, killer communication tips – I’ve been using them in the real world, and they’re like my secret weapons. I honestly think I dodged a few professional bullets, thanks to those skills.
Big shout-out to Ms. Holly and everyone at CareerLink for creating an environment that’s not just about work but about personal growth too. The support I got was next level, and it made all the difference. 

I’m not just saying this – I genuinely feel more confident and capable in my job now. It’s like I’ve got this secret stash of skills that sets me apart, and I owe it all to you guys.
Thanks a bunch for being the awesome team that you are.”

-RENEW Participant


Benjamin came to the Harrisburg University Secondary Services team as a student. He is now a current Esports Management, Production, and Performance student, and was able to work with an international non-profit organization remotely, called the Network of Academic and Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF). He worked with their marketing team and created content for their social media platforms, by creating graphics and editing videos. He was able to do some data management, and also helped do some moderation in the Discord Server run by NASEF it was never boring. His passion for the esports world and community was widely known at Harrisburg University. During his tenure with NASEF, he accrued 111 hours of Paid Work Experience, which was made possible with the funding from SCPa Works. His internship with NASEF allowed him to network and find more people in the scholastic esports arena trying to educate and uplift high school students in the space. He was able to impact so many young people with this internship in ways that cannot even be imagined!

To Read his full story, see below for Benjamin’s NASEF blog discussing his experience:


Richard entered the WIOA program in late August 2023. Richard was met in the CRC by Paul Henderson, and after discussing his current situation, Paul invited Holly Simmons and Michelle O’Bradovic into the conversation. Richard was a disabled veteran who was released from prison that week. Richard needed immediate employment. Richard was scheduled to return the next day to conduct orientation and meet with Holly Simmons. Richard arrived 30 minutes before the start of the orientation and had almost all the documents needed for intake. Holly assisted him with updating his address with PennDot, and after a quick discussion with intake, Deborah Smith met with Richard to conduct his intake. A few days later, Richard arrived for a hiring event and stayed at the event for approximately six hours, talking with employers and community resources, and applying for jobs on the PA Careerlink® website.

When assigned to his career advisor, Richard discussed his areas of interest with his career advisor and decided that he wanted to obtain employment in one of the following fields: HVAC, warehouse, or clerical positions. Richard’s previous background was also discussed as a barrier to employment. His business service consultant assured him that he would guide him toward re-entry-friendly employment opportunities.

Richard diligently walked to PA Careerlink® daily to work on his resume and search and apply for job openings that matched his interests. After much dedication and effort, Richard secured employment with Dayton Parts as a Machine Operator in October 2023. Richard also received assistance getting the needed work boots for his new position. 

Congratulations, Richard, from everyone at PA Careerlink®!


Erica Allen has been enrolled in EARN since November 3, 2021, and migrated to my case in January. Since her enrollment, Erica has diligently met her weekly required hours by signing up for every workshop EARN has to offer and applying the skills learned to her daily life. After being employed with Faithful Transportation, Erica has reached her employment goal in transportation and has maintained her employment throughout her retention period. Erica was very responsive while managing her case, stayed in compliance with communication, and sent her paystubs whenever needed, thus earning every incentive available since enrollment. October makes her 12th month of retention, and with the submission of all her paystubs for this month, she will have successfully completed the EARN program, making her one of many. She is a prime example of goal setting and using the resources and skills provided to help achieve her goals. Working with Erica was a pleasure, and she will be missed.


“Five of our former digital literacy students were recently selected for a Google Scholarship award! This was a national opportunity that they applied for through COABE, and were 5 of only 25 selected from PA. Our instructor, Maureen, was also selected for an Educator’s scholarship and will be attending the cybersecurity course. As scholarship recipients, they were able to select one Google Careers certificate, which includes foundational courses such as cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing, IT support, project management, and UX design. We look forward to hearing about their progress and will be sure to update you as they work toward their certificates.”

-Mindy, Executive Director at Employment Skills Center


PA Careerlink® Business Services Consultant, Tiffany Bowles, had been providing services to a participant on her caseload for a couple of months. After a 20-year work history as a hairdresser, the participant was eager to make a career transition. Through the PA Careerlink® Paid Work Experience program, Tiffany referred the participant to the Cumberland County PA Careerlink® to learn about the Human Services profession. The participant expressed that she truly enjoyed her work experience and inquired about any potential jobs within the PA Careerlink®. Tiffany sent the participant specific job leads, one being a Youth Talent Development Specialist at the Cumberland County PA Careerlink®. The participant interviewed for the position and was hired on October 30th. Thank you, Tiffany, for your efforts, and congratulations to the Cumberland Youth team on your new hire! If you are an employer and would like information on resources such as the Paid Work Experience program, please email Matthew Ross at and you will be connected to a PA Careerlink® Business Services Consultant who can assist!


The SCPa Works Apprenticeship Navigators are planning an April Apprenticeship event at the Dauphin County PA Careerlink®.  We will host a Breakfast Meeting Information Session about Registered Apprenticeship Programs followed by a job fair.  If interested in attending, please contact

Industry Partnership Spotlight

We are conducting round tables and meetings with farms and agriculture businesses as we explore an agriculture industry partnership to support our vast agriculture community in our eight-county region in South Central PA.  Stay tuned for more information.

At our kickoff meeting on August 17, twenty-six construction companies and thirteen community-based partners met to discuss challenges and opportunities in the South Central region construction industry sector.  Through a facilitated-led discussion group, the companies established three priorities to work on during this program year:  Adult Workforce, Youth Workforce, and Owner Hiring Processes.  The Adult Workforce group will focus on increasing the talent pipeline by recruiting justice-impaired job seekers.  The Youth Workforce group is working on an asset map exercise of people, partnerships, experiences, and space before scheduling programs.  The Owner Hiring Processes team will provide employers with solutions and best practices to enhance connectivity with qualified applicants and creative pipelines for future workers.  If interested in joining our partnership, please contact Cynthia Picht at

The South Central Next Gen new technology community website has launched!  There are excellent resources for employers, students, and job seekers.  Employers can become a member of the partnership at no cost, highlight your company,  and post your job openings.  To find out more about us and how you can become a member, please visit the website:

On a month-to-month basis, our region has over 500 open, high-paying technology jobs.  To find out about the top five technology jobs and career pathways, please  visit our website link below:

In South Central PA, manufacturers’ primary challenge is the urgent demand for a skilled workforce. The manufacturing sector in the region is expanding, marked by a competitive industry, and production occupations are deemed the most difficult to fill. However, manufacturers grapple with meeting factory orders due to supply chain limitations and insufficient technology adoption. Notable corporations like Hershey’s, Harley-Davidson, Keurig, Dr. Pepper, and local manufacturing companies, form the Industry Partnership crucial for sustaining the regional economy. Rejuvenated in November 2018, the partnership addresses critical issues such as the skills gap, supply chain comprehension, and technology deployment. Led by Co-Chair employers Phoenix Contact and Weldon Solutions, the partnership involves key public partners, educational institutions, and workforce development boards, fostering collaborative efforts to advance manufacturing in South Central PA.

The Industry Partnership is in the process of completing a study on Barriers to Retention. Employer partners are actively surveying their employees, and the Manufacturers’ Association is compiling and benchmarking the study to extract insights regarding best practices and obstacles to retaining current staff. Given the persistent tight labor market, the forecasted mass retirement, and the transition into a pandemic or prolonged labor shortage, there is a pressing need to identify and disseminate new and innovative strategies within the manufacturing community to address this challenge. Unlike other studies, this one is specific to South Central PA employees and the manufacturing industry.  The study will be available in Q1 of 2024.


Economy Overview

  • Regional Employment is 724,424, a slight increase from last quarter
  • As of August 2023, the Regional Labor Force Participation Rate is 64.69%
  • As of October 2023, the Region’s Unemployment Rate is 3.1%, below the State’s Unemployment Rate of 3.4%
  • Statistics that reflect 2022 Supply/Demand in our Region (Supply = Population / Demand= Job Opportunities):
The stats are an example of job demand outweighing population supply
  • 43% of jobs in SCPa Region required no more than a High School Diploma or GED / 37% of our population met that criterion
  • 24% of jobs required a Bachelor’s Degree / 18% of our population met that criteria
The stats are an example of our population supply outweighing job demand
  • 9% of jobs in SCPa Region required ‘some college’ / 16% of our population met that criterion
  • 2% of jobs required an Associate’s Degree / 9% of the population met that criterion
  • 4% of jobs required a Graduate Level Degree or higher / 11% of the population met that criterion

Job Posting Analytics

  • A total of 2,950 employers have posted 21,687 jobs with an average wage of $50,800
  • 28% of job postings over 90 days are requiring no more than a High School Diploma/GED, while 19% are requiring a Bachelor’s Degree
  • 17% of job postings over the past 90 days are requiring no more than one year of experience
  • UPMC, one of the region’s largest employers, has posted the most job openings over the last quarter. The Commonwealth of PA, Amazon, Penn State University, and Wellspan are among the top in job postings
  • Industries in our region with the most job postings: General/Surgical Hospitals, Colleges/Universities, Public Health Administration, Physician Offices, and Home HealthCare Services

Contact Us

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South Central Workforce Development Board

Quarterly Newsletter

September 1, 2023 - Volume 1 - Issue 2


There are lots of new faces at SCPa Works, we are excited to announce three new Board Members and three New Staff Members!

NEW Board Members – Ashley Zinn, Sully Pinos, and Brian Dailey

NEW Staff Members – Anita Zook, Shauna Ventress, and Samuel Ortiz

Inside This Issue

See SCPa Works Newest Awards

Read more Customer Success Stories

Check out our Industry Partnership Spotlight

Learn more on South Central PA Labor Market Analysis and Research Corner


NEW Board Members

Ashley Zinn

Ashley Zinn, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-CP is a seasoned human resources leader with over a decade of experience in the healthcare industry, who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the development and implementation of human resources initiatives that support the overall business strategy. As the Vice President of Human Resources at WellSpan Health, Ashley has been responsible for supporting comprehensive people strategies for the healthcare system’s Corporate Services, Population Health Services, Community Pharmacies, WellSpan Medical Equipment, and eight acute care entities.


Ashley’s experience has been marked by success in leading and managing all aspects of HR, including employee relations, workforce development, turnover, retention, and talent acquisition. She has also provided strategic planning and advice on Human Resources matters, such as compensation, human capital structure, engagement, HR policies and procedures, mergers, and acquisitions. Thanks to her leadership, Ashley has supported multiple large-scale department redesigns and execution of new facilities including the WellSpan Health Hanover Surgery Center and St. David’s Children’s Hospital.


Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration. She has also participated in the application and site visit preparation for the 2013 and 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, resulting in St. David’s Healthcare becoming the first hospital group in Texas to be awarded this honor in 2014.


Ashley resides with her family in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where she is an active member of the Hanover Area Human Resources Association and the St. Joseph School Home and School Association. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys reading, being outdoors and supporting the community.

Sully Pinos

As the inaugural Executive Director of the Bloom Business Empowerment Center, an initiative of the York County Economic Alliance, Sully Pinos oversees the strategic mission to grow small businesses by offering a suite of services such as capital, technical assistance and much more. The BLOOM Business Empowerment Center will provide resources countywide, with an intentional focus to help small businesses owned by women and BIPOC communities. In her five years at YCEA, Sully has led the Business Solutions & Innovation team with YoCo Bloom grant programs, workforce development and talent attraction, and women’s programming.  What she loves most about her job is connecting York County businesses, organizations, and residents to resources, which make for a stronger and thriving community. Most recently, she was recognized by the Association for Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)’s 40 under 40 program for her efforts throughout the pandemic to launch a virtual career fair series and provide outreach support for small businesses by connecting them with funding resources. She was instrumental in designing and implementing COVID relief programs which awarded just over $29 million in federal CARES and ARPA funds to nearly 2,000 York County businesses in 2020 and 2021. 


Prior to her role with the York County Economic Alliance, she served as the Chief of Staff for former State Representative Kevin J. Schreiber of the 95th District in York. A Brooklyn native, St. John’s University alum and daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, Sully has been in York, PA for ten years, where she had moved to work on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. She enjoys volunteering for several causes and supporting local businesses. She proudly serves on the boards and committees of the YWCA York, Confronting Racism Coalition, York County Hispanic Coalition. 

Brian Dailey

 As a 30-year hospitality industry veteran, Brian Dailey currently serves as the Managing Director, Restaurant Group, at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R). Brian has been with HE&R for 24 years. Throughout his career, Brian has opened and/or supported more than 24 restaurants, including our local favorites such as Houlihan’s Restaurant + Bar, Devon Seafood Grill & Steak, and the newest venue, The Chocolatier Restaurant, Bar + Patio at Hershey’s Chocolatetown in Hersheypark. His love for this industry goes beyond the restaurants; his teammates and guests inspire him every day. Milton S. Hershey’s legacy drives Brian to give back and support our future leaders, whether through volunteerism at Milton Hershey School, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Scout Den Leader, and other community programs. 

Upcoming Committee & Board Dates

Administration and Finance Committee Meeting

Youth / Program
Committee Meeting

Executive Committee

Board of Directors

October 26, 2023, at 8:30 am

October 31, 2023, at 8:30 am

November 2, 2023, at 8:30 am

November 9, 2023, at 8:30 am

All Committee Meetings are held at 4201 Crums Mill Road, Suite 100A, Harrisburg, PA 17112. The November 9, 2023, Board of Directors Meeting will be held at Commonwealth Charter Academy – 1 Innovation Way, Harrisburg, PA 17110.

SCPa Works Employee Anniversaries


Chris Bonneau                         6YRS

Operations Specialist 

Matthew Ross                          5YRS

Program Manager

Cynthia Picht                           5YRS

Engage! Coordinator / Senior Industry Specialist

Holly LeMaster                        4YRS

Software Specialist

David Koman                           3YRS

Staff Accountant


Katie Conaway                          1YR

Office Manager

Lakiesha Stewart                     1YR

Performance Specialist


NEW SCPa Works Employees


Anita Zook

Employer Liaison

Shauna Ventress

Program Officer

Samuel Ortiz

Evaluation and Impact Officer


Anita Zook joined SCPa Works as the Employer Liaison on August 28, 2023. She comes to SCPa Works from Select Medical where she was covering for multiple maternity leaves in the recruitment department. For the past 8 years, Anita has done Executive, IT, Construction, Engineering, Healthcare and Manufacturing recruiting for local companies when she worked for Susan Graham Consulting, based in Hershey. She joined Diverse Recruiting Experts in early 2022 where she managed an international team serving Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States until the company was acquired in October 2022.

Prior to recruiting, Anita worked in digital marketing, social media marketing, communications and public relations for software companies. After leaving software development, she was a social media marketing relationship manager for small-to medium clients throughout the United States while working with a Central PA based company. Anita began her career as Assistant Director of Career Services at ITT Technical Institute, where she gained a passion for human resources and workforce development.

Anita is originally from Newport, PA but has lived in Dillsburg, PA since 2007 with her husband and two children, who attend Northern York County School District, where her husband is the Assistant Director of Technology. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and History. While attending F&M, she interned for Pennsylvania Senator Jake Corman, PA Department of Transpiration and PA Department of Labor and Industry. Anita stays active with the Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Network in recruitment, Reunion Committee Chair and Class Correspondent for the alumni magazine.

Anita is also a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts of America and earned both the Silver and Gold Awards. She has been a troop leader for the past 10 years as well as the fundraising coordinator and service unit delegate to the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania council. Her family volunteers at the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association and also with various organizations within Northern York County School District and with her son’s Boy Scout Troop in Dillsburg. Anita practices the tenets of scouting, “To Help People at All Times”, every day.


Shauna Ventress will begin as a Program Officer on September 19, 2023. Shauna currently works with our partner, Equus Workforce Solutions, as a Deputy Director. Shauna has been in the Workforce Development field since 2016 and uses her Bachelor of Social Work degree to combine workforce and social services to enhance the lives of those who are facing barriers to a sustainable career, most notably Youth, Young Adults, and Justice-Involved individuals. Shauna lives in Lebanon County, and when she’s not working, she is soaking up every moment that she can with her young children. 


Samuel N. Ortiz will become as an Evaluation and Impact Officer starting September 19, 2023. Samuel currently works with our partner Equus Workforce Solutions as a Site Administrator at PA CareerLink Lebanon County. His professional background encompasses technical capacity with computer information systems, effective communication, project management, stakeholder engagement, and strategic thinking, which will contribute effectively to the position’s focus on data analysis and evaluation methods. Samuel lives in Lebanon County with his wife and two children, and his personal interests involve continuous learning, outdoor and urban exploration with his family, and chronologically watching films in the Criterion Collection. 


SCPa Works Awarded $450,000 Youth Reentry Grant

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry recently awarded youth reentry funding to nine workforce development boards.“…programs will provide in-demand job training, re-entry support services, mentorship, higher education opportunities, and family-sustaining career pathways – all of which align with Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal of
$4 million to invest in probation and parole services for all Pennsylvanians and reduce recidivism in Pennsylvania.”

SCPa Works and its PA CareerLink® partners will administer this grant until June 2026. The program will focus on providing youth with paid work experiences, training in high-priority occupations, mentorship, and supportive services. The program is available to 18-24-year-olds in all eight counties of South Central Pennsylvania.

SCPa Works Awarded $150,000 in Business Education Partnership Funding

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry recently awarded SCPa Works $150,000 in BEP funding. SCPa Works’ application theme was ‘Enhancing Business Education Partnerships to advance Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (I.D.E.A.) in South Central PA’. Future programs will focus on:

  • Career Pathway Exposure through Youth Mentoring Program in Dauphin County
  • Business Engagement to Showcase High Priority Occupations
  • Entrepreneurship as a pathway partnership with Harrisburg University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Pre-Apprenticeship as a Strategy to Advance I.D.E.A. in Youth Career Pathways
  • Investment in School Districts and Areas Most in Need

Engaging Opportunity Youth in South Central PA – Knovva Academy

Strategies for Engaging Opportunity Youth in South Central Pennsylvania Network-based collective impact strategies that integrate individualized wraparound services across organizations are necessary to address the structural pressures on young people that have been building for generations, and which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aligning social services, workforce development agencies, educational organizations, community organizations, philanthropic efforts, and place-based partnerships can eliminate redundancies and serve as a force multiplier for collective impact efforts to re-engage youth.

The exemplars in this report all have a pathway-based approach to school and workforce development, anchored in service collaboration and system support to maximize resources, funding, and knowledge to accommodate the needs of Opportunity Youth best. Youth Opportunity Apprenticeship programs and Early College models are some of the most widespread and scalable efforts to engage Opportunity Youth, and are presented alongside examples from the study area and the state of PA.

With a strategic orientation toward collective impact, resources from partners and those of SCPa Works can be leveraged to enhance reach and impact for Opportunity Youth in the designated study area. Knovva recommends pairing digital outreach strategies with community access points. SCPa Works can be pleased to confirm that many of its existing community access points, as highlighted in this report’s maps, are strategically located and align with the geographic recommendations in the eight counties. Additionally, other geographic areas of interest are highlighted for SCPa Works’ consideration, as well as new and prospective partners for collective impact.

Jobs for the Future

We have already delivered outstanding results as part of JFF’s $200,000 ProLogis logistics training programs – and this continues our growing partnership with JFF. At the end of this engagement, SCPa Works will work closely with JFF and its team of advisors to develop compelling proposals for innovative, place-based solutions that can be pitched to potential funders. Leveraging its national network, JFF will support efforts to identify and connect SCPa Works to potential funders and grant opportunities with the goal of raising funds to support concept implementation by the summer of 2024.

Dauphin County Whole Home Repair Program

SCPa Works is administering the $400,000 workforce development program for Dauphin County EDC’s Whole Home Repair program, which includes cash stipends for trainees and costs related to the design and implementation of pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeships, and publicly funded on-the-job training programs.

United Way’s Road to Success Program

SCPa Works is renewing our nearly $100,000/year engagement with the United Way through our Road to Success program, which connects job seekers with critical workforce development and supportive services (such as childcare and transportation) to increase economic mobility for the ALICE population.

PA CareerLink® Begins Pre-Release Services in Adams and York Counties

The PA CareerLink® Reentry team has begun pre-release services in Adams and York County Prisons. Facilitators will deliver group workshops to women nearing release and looking for employment support. Workshops will begin with the Workforce 101 series and continue with the University of Cincinnati’s Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Classes. CBI sessions are evidence-based and “…relies on a cognitive-behavioral approach to teach people strategies for identifying and managing high-risk situations related to obtaining and maintaining employment. This program heavily emphasizes skill-building activities to assist with cognitive, social, emotional, and coping skill development.”

Youth / Program Updates


Program Year 22/23 –

Total WIOA Adult Enrollments: 281 Participants

Total WIOA Dislocated Worker enrollments for the PY: 67 participants

Total WIOA participants that attended Classroom Training for the PY: 160 participants

Program Year 23/24 – Equus Workforce Solutions awarded $1.6E


Program Year 22/23 –

Total EARN Program Enrollments: 266 Participants

Program Year 23/24 – Equus Workforce Solutions awarded $2.2M

Re-Entry Services Training – WIOA and SCPa Works staff attended the two-day Re-Entry Employment Specialist Training with the PA Department of Labor and Industry and the PA Board of Probation and Parole. This training will allow staff to utilize specific competencies and their related skills to assist offenders to make informed decisions about jobs, vocational and educational plans based on knowledge of the participant’s interests, skills/abilities, and values; educational and occupational opportunities and the realities of the world of work.

All EARN staff attended the Trauma Informed Healing Centered Workshop, a two-day training, three hours a day, provided by the Network with Drexel University. All EARN staff, including supervisors, participated in the training, which focused on identifying trauma in the participants or individual collective levels; learning how to reduce stress for someone who is experiencing/experienced trauma; practicing trauma-informed healing-centered responses and support; identifying their own reactions to trauma, biases, and how this informs their interactions with their colleagues and customers.

Community Access Point (CAP) Initiative

Lebanon County Christian Ministries (LCCM) stands as a beacon of community support in Lebanon County, serving as a vital community Access Point. With their unwavering dedication to making a difference, LCCM has been recognized for their impact and awarded several grants. This recognition has paved the way for an extended partnership, as they’ve invited us to increase our presence at their location.

At the heart of LCCM’s services lie their initiatives, each representing a profound commitment to uplifting the community. The Market on 7th, a recently launched venture, has garnered substantial attention since its inception in July. Operating on select days throughout the week, it provides essential resources to families in need. During my recent hours at The Market, I connected with 76 households (comprising 168 individuals) on a Wednesday morning, and another 26 households (with 125 individuals) on a Thursday evening. Among their diverse offerings, the Free Noon Meal has become a cornerstone of compassion. Serving a hot lunch daily from 12-1 p.m., this initiative transcends barriers and extends a nourishing meal to anyone in need, without any prerequisites. Weekly, this service touches the lives of approximately 160-190 individuals.

LCCM’s impact extends to those facing homelessness through the Fresh Start Emergency Shelter and Resource Center. By providing both shelter and essential resources, LCCM is fostering personal sustainability and offering protection from the elements. This commitment to holistic support is also evident in the UpLift Program, designed to empower well-being, confidence, and economic strength. With personalized action plans and collaborative efforts, UpLift is not only addressing immediate needs but also laying the foundation for lasting change.

Embodying the spirit of connection and transformation, upLIFT doesn’t merely address food insecurity—it encompasses a comprehensive approach that promotes positive change. By adhering to the More than Food framework, upLIFT ensures that members are provided with healthy groceries, holistic assistance, and creative solutions to challenges. This approach, tested and proven across the United States, has made upLIFT an impactful pilot program within LCCM. They were awarded a grant for this program because PA CareerLink was one of their CBO providing services at their location.

Success Stories

Elijah started his apprenticeship with PA State Extension as a Butcher on July 31, 2023. He is completing his second week of the program and has expressed that he feels as though the hard work will be worth his effort, as it is a perfect fit for him. He is enjoying learning the material through his lectures and his favorite part of the current classroom curriculum is learning about how the animals are processed and the techniques involved in that procedure.  The program recently took a trip to Nicholas Meats, in Logantown, PA, to tour the facility and give the students an opportunity to experience what it might be like in the field before they enter into the hands-on training portion of the apprenticeship. Elijah is excited to begin his 3,000 hours in the field in two weeks and his hope is to gain employment directly through the apprenticeship once he is complete. 

Joel enrolled in both NuPaths 110 and then NuPaths 120, having overlapping courses for a few weeks while managing his regular school work. Joel is 18 and a senior at Commonwealth Charter Academy; he is planning on attending Harrisburg University for IT/Computer Science in the fall of 2023. Joel finished the NuPaths 110 course with perfect attendance and all assignments handed in on time. He passed the course with a final grade of 88.12%. Joel experienced some setbacks with the CompTIA exam but is expected to pass. As for the NuPaths 120 course, he finished on April 24, 2023, with perfect attendance and all assignments handed in on time. He passed the course with a final grade of 91.57%. At one point, Joel improved his grade from 71.3% (due to some retesting) to 101.09% while taking both courses. Joel has passed both the Excel Certification exam and the Outlook Certification exam.


A WIOA Dislocated Worker participant and WIOA Adult participant are a married couple enrolled in the WIOA Program. Having been assigned to work with two separate Career Advisors, both participants attended the Shelly School of Trucking to get their CDL together. They successfully graduated from their training program at Shelly on June 14, 2023. Both are scheduled to begin working for USA Truck Capacity Solutions on July 10, 2023. Their pre-employment training took place in Ohio, where both participants received supportive service funding for work boots and work pants for their new careers. They stopped by the Cap Region Office and were very excited about this new career as they have been partnered together as on-the-road drivers.


Isaela enrolled in the EARN Program in February of 2023. Isaela was residing in the US for a few years before becoming a single mother.  She also was not a US citizen and needed help with childcare and assistance with learning English as a second language.  She believed that the EARN Program would help her in finding employment. As a single mother, childcare prevented her from employment.  The EARN Case Manager completed a referral for assistance with childcare. Through this referral to ERLC, the ERLC Case Worker was able to assist Isaela in obtaining childcare. 

After securing child care, her EARN Case Manager referred her to a local ESL class.  Isaela began going to ESL classes at a local church, which she attended three times a week.  She completed the LinkedIn Learning EARN Job Readiness Pathway and maintained compliance by completing the necessary hours required to participate in the EARN Program. 

Isaela maintained communication with her Case Manager and advised her when she obtained employment at a warehouse. As she continues in the program, Isaela continues to submit her pay stubs.  Isaela decided she wanted to work towards her Citizenship and was provided the resources for taking the US Citizenship test. The Case Manager advised Isaela about the free online help with citizenship testing through USA Learns. The Case Manager was able to connect Isaela with a church that was able to assist with the citizenship process and the test.

Isaela is scheduled to take the US citizenship test in August and hopes to continue working and learning English to better her employment opportunities in the future. Isaela’s cash assistance will be closing soon and she will be placed in retention.  Throughout her time thus far in the EARN Program, she has been able to overcome all barriers. In addition, she was able to advance her English and secure employment, maintain employment and hopefully become a US citizen.


A resident within our community came to the PA CareerLink(R) in search of a job that would provide consistent hours and a sustainable wage. A barrier to employment was determined, due to the individual being justice-impacted. The job of interest had been in an office setting, but their background was inhibiting an opportunity to gain employment. The PA CareerLink® Business Services Consultant (BSC) who was assigned to the job seeker had discussed the importance of career pathways and the prioritization of gaining employment with a company that did not see their background as a barrier. The BSC referred the job seeker to Walters Services Inc., who interviewed the job seeker within a week of the BSC referral. The job seeker was offered employment the following week, with a 40-hour-per-week schedule and starting wage of $17.50 per hour, with the possibility of raises and job growth in the future.

The ability of the PA CareerLink® Business Services Consultants to engage employers who embed Fair Chance within their hiring practices was a determining factor in placing one of our community members into sustainable employment.


Students from many different school districts in Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties applied for the Farm Crew at the LEAF Project in Landisburg, Pa. They heard about the opportunity through many different outlets school, friends, social media or hearing the presentation given by the Leadership Team from LEAF. On May 20, 2023, after going through two different interviews with the Leadership Team, there were 45 applicants 16 applicants were chosen. They were notified by Ricki Horne, Operations Director of LEAF. The reason for these 16 applicants to be the 2023 Farm Crew was; their love to learn more about the food they are eating, where it is coming from, wanting to be a part of a team, being nonjudgmental of others, and their diverse backgrounds. The crew met for the first time on May 31, 2023, at the farm. No one knew anyone even though some of them attended the same primary school, being in different classes. Today they are one; without one they can not operate. They have learned from each other, grew as a team, and have a better understanding of the food they are eating. Here are some of their testimonials.

This Career Advisor had the pleasure of watching them grow over the last six weeks of summer. It was like a seed that was planted it has bloomed into a beautiful healthy sight. This crew is awesome and has lots to offer others.


Q- What did you expect your first week to be like?

A- I expected a lot less of a community and more of just a work environment.


Q- Do you enjoy the different type of work setting?

A- Yes I do really like it, it is just something to get used to.


Q- What are you excited for at leaf?

A- I’m mostly excited for all the opportunities that are going to arise as the summer progresses.


Q- How do you feel your first week went?

A- I feel like it went pretty good, its definitely a good place to work!


Q- How do you feel about the work environment?

A- It’s a comfortable work environment and it’s nice here.


Q- ls the work what you expected it to be?

A-Hmm yeah, I expected the farm work but the workshops are something new. I enjoy them!



Q- How did your first week go?

A- I think it went good, I felt prepared for the week. I was definitely little tired by the end!


Q- Did you like the jobs you were put on for the week?

A- Yeah, bed prep was fun and good to get some energy out!




Congratulations to our newest Apprenticeship Navigators, Emily York, and Mary Ellen Balchunis!  Emily and Mary Ellen support apprenticeships through the PA CareerLink® Workforce System.  Emily & Mary Ellen, we are so happy to have you on board to support employers and job seekers interested in the Commonwealth’s Registered Apprenticeship Programs.  It takes a village… and everyone has a vital role to play.  Thank you for your leadership role in building and expanding South Central Region apprenticeship programs!

Industry Partnership Spotlight

Construction Industry Partnership

The South Central Next Gen Construction Industry Partnership launched on August 17th.  If you are interested in strengthening the construction industry in our region, learning about unique training opportunities, collaborating with workforce, education, economic development, and community-based organizations, and growing your talent pipeline, join us at the next meeting in November.  Please email Cynthia Picht at for more information.

Governor Shapiro signed an Executive Order on July 31st to create the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program (CWTP) –investing up to $400 million of federal funding to work with companies, contractors, and unions who are working on projects funded by Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) or the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to reimburse costs related to on-the-job training for new workers.  If you’re an employer working on an IIJA or IRA project, read more to find out how you can take advantage of the CWTP at

IT Industry Partnership

Technology companies – join our partnership, highlight your company, and post job openings on our website.  Register for our monthly entrepreneur events at

Interested in a technology career?  Discover technology career pathways, see who’s hiring, and so much more.  For more information, please contact Debbie Kauffman at

Manufacturing Industry Partnership

The South Central NextGen Manufacturing Industry Partnership currently has two major initiatives in progress: English as a Second Language and a Barriers to Retention project. Hain Celestial (a.k.a. Parm Crisps) in York recently piloted the first ESL Program for the partnership. Eight students entered and completed the first cohort facilitated by Workforce Talent Solutions, a regional ESL provider. The group plans to continue ESL because of this program’s success. Secondly, a regional study is currently underway led by employers of the Industry Partnership, The Manufacturers’ Association, and Penn State Harrisburg to better fully understand the real barriers to retention that occur in the workplace. This study is open to any manufacturing company in the region. For more information, please contact Becky Becker at the Manufacturers’ Association at

Economy Overview

  • Regional Employment is 724,267
  • As of April 2023, the Regional Labor Force Participation Rate is 63.25%
  • As of June 2023, the Region’s Unemployment Rate is 3%, below the State’s Unemployment Rate of 3.8%
  • The Region’s 3 Largest Industries: Transportation and Warehousing, Manufacturing, and Management of Companies and Enterprise Industries

Job Posting Analytics

  • A total of 3,847 employers have posted 29,405 jobs with an average wage of $56,200
  • 26% of job postings over 90 days are requiring no more than a High School Diploma/GED, while 19% are requiring a Bachelor’s Degree
  • 17% of job postings over the past 90 days are requiring no more than one year of experience
  • The Region’s most in-demand occupations: Registered Nurses, Retail Salespersons, First Line Supervisors of Retail Salespersons, Home Health and Personal Aides, and Heavy and Tractor Trainer Truck Drivers

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SCPa Works Newsletters

SCPa Works is proud to announce a new quarterly newsletter! In each newsletter, you will find an array of information about what we do and who we are. This newsletter is brought to you by the entire team at SCPa Works. We hope you enjoy the updates, customer testimonials, vendor spotlights, and more. If there is something more you would like to see, please contact us by email –

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Auxiliary aides and services are available to individuals with disabilities. Equal Opportunity Employer/Program

South Central Workforce Development Board

Quarterly Newsletter

June 1, 2023 - Volume 1 - Issue 1

The first release of our quarterly newsletter is available via PDF download only. Please click the below button to download the PDF from Google Drive. 

Future editions of the newsletter are available to read directly on our website. Subscribe below to ensure you don’t miss new releases!

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Auxiliary aides and services are available to individuals with disabilities. Equal Opportunity Employer/Program