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Aging Worker Initiative Grant for Maryland

07.30.09

News you can use from Senator Mikulski

Marianne Kreitner

Notice of funding from the U. S. Department of Labor

The Aging Worker Initiative: Strategies for Regional Talent Development is designed to train workers age 55 and older for jobs in high-growth, high-demand industries, and increase the public workforce system’s capacity to effectively serve an aging worker population. The grants target older individuals who have been laid off and are seeking re-employment; need to stay in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age but need training to increase their skills; and face other barriers to employment such as disabilities or low levels of English proficiency. Below is information on the grant:

Grantee: Baltimore County Office of Workforce Development (Maryland)

Industry Focus: Healthcare

Location of Grant Activities: Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland

Key Partners: Baltimore County Workforce Development Council; Mayor’s Office of Employment Development; Baltimore Workforce Investment Board; Governor’s Workforce Investment Board; Baltimore County Department of Aging (SCSEP grantee); Baltimore City Commission of Aging and Retirement Education; Maryland AARP; Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare; Johns Hopkins Health System; University of Maryland Medical Center; Northwest Hospital; Maryland Hospital Association; Community College of Baltimore County; Baltimore City Community College; University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Grant Amount: $967,005

Leveraged Funds: $829,216

Challenge: A shortage of skilled workers is a pressing concern among healthcare employers, and vacancy rates for skilled positions are steadily increasing even though older workers could meet the industry’s workforce demand. Older workers – many of whom are displaced or retirees attempting to return to work – face unique challenges as they seek employment, such as lack of computer/technological skills, gaps in employment history, and desire for flexible or part-time hours. In addition, One Stop Career Center professionals are not sufficiently trained to address barriers to employment among older workers, and regional employers are not developing comprehensive strategies to attract or retain older employees.

Addressing the Challenge: To address the region’s high demand for skilled workers in healthcare, the Maturity Works: Tapping Older Workers for High Growth Healthcare Careers project will strengthen the pipeline of entry-level older workers into the industry; move lower-skill older workers up career ladders; and retain experienced technical and professional workers after retirement age. One- Stop Career Center capacity will be expanded to provide job readiness opportunities tailored to older adults’ learning styles and to provide career guidance to older workers on employment and training opportunities in the healthcare industry. Participants in the project will receive training in four types of health occupations, as well as basic skills training in language and math targeted to the health field. In addition, a regional campaign that encourages employers to hire and retain older workers will be implemented.

Projected Outcomes:

312 older workers will begin education/training activities.
260 older workers will complete education/training activities and receive a degree/certificate.
249 older workers who complete education/training activities will enter training-related employment
20 workforce development professionals (Older Worker Specialists) will receive training on serving older workers.
A self-paced instruction tool for the Older Worker Specialists will be developed.
500 employers will be educated through various employer engagement strategies.
An employer outreach communication toolkit will be developed.

MIKULSKI ANNOUNCES STEP FORWARD IN PUTTING MORE THAN $57 MILLION IN THE FEDERAL CHECKBOOK FOR THE PORT OF BALTIMORE

07.30.09

SENATOR MIKULSKI SUPPORTS THE PORT OF BALTIMORE

Marianne Kreitner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 30, 2009

CONTACT:

Rachel MacKnight

Cassie Harvey

202-228-1122

MIKULSKI ANNOUNCES STEP FORWARD IN PUTTING MORE THAN $57 MILLION IN THE FEDERAL CHECKBOOK FOR THE PORT OF BALTIMORE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced Senate passage of the fiscal year 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. It includes nearly $70 million for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects in Maryland, including more than $57 million for the Port of Baltimore.

“This bill is a federal investment in the lives and livelihoods that depend on Maryland’s waterways. These projects will help ensure that freight carriers and cruise ships can safely navigate Baltimore’s channels so the Port of Baltimore can continue to serve as an important economic engine that creates and sustains jobs in Maryland,” Senator Mikulski said. “I will continue to make the Port of Baltimore and Maryland’s waterways a priority in the federal checkbook.”

The Port of Baltimore is a major economic engine for Maryland and America, supporting more than 50,000 jobs in Maryland, including more than 16,500 direct jobs. Among U.S. ports, Baltimore receives the top rank for handling noncontainerized roll on/roll off cargo, trucks, imported forest products gypsum, sugar and iron ore. It ranks 12th in the nation in total value of foreign cargo handled. It also is the largest automobile exporter in the country, the second largest in total automobile tonnage, and the 13th largest in foreign cargo tonnage. The Port’s activities support approximately $2 billion in business revenue, $3.6 billion in personal wages and salaries, and $388 million in state, county and municipal taxes annually.

Funding for the Port requested by Senator Mikulski and approved by the Appropriations Committee includes:

• $20 million for annual maintenance dredging of the Baltimore Harbor and its shipping channels.

• $28.4 million for operation and maintenance dredging of the C&D Canal and approach channels. The C&D Canal currently carries 40 percent of all ship traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore. It provides a shortcut for vessels traveling between Baltimore and points north.

• $8.6 million for the continuation of the Poplar Island environmental restoration project, which is taking clean dredged materials from the shipping lanes leading to the Port of Baltimore and using it to stabilize the shoreline, create habitat areas and restore the wetlands of one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most valuable island ecosystems in Talbot County.

• $483,000 for the Mid Chesapeake Bay Island Study, which is examining the potential beneficial use of placing clean dredged material from the Port of Baltimore’s shipping channels to restore the habitat and protect the shoreline of James and Barren Islands in Dorchester County.

In the next step of the appropriations process, the House and Senate will work out the differences between their versions of the bill, which will then be voted on by both Houses of Congress. After it’s passed, the Appropriations bill will go to the President for his signature. Once these steps are completed, the funds will become available in Maryland.
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Rachel MacKnight

Communications Director

Office of U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski

202-228-1122

Department of Labor (DOL) announces Tama employees are one of twenty to receive new TAA program certification

07.30.09

Department of Labor (DOL) announces Tama employees are one of twenty to receive new TAA program certification

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, July 3rd- The United States Department of Labor announced the certification of 20 petitions for benefit eligibility for workers under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides training and employment services for workers who have lost their jobs due to competitive foreign trade. The 20 are the first certifications under the new TAA law that took effect on May 18th, 2009, which among other changes, expanded program access to previously ineligible service industry workers. One of the 20 includes a employer in the Lehigh Valley.

Tama Manufacturing in Allentown received TAA certification. The employers workers are represented by Workers United (SEIU), formerly UNITE HERE Union, located on Hamilton Street in Allentown.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded the pool of eligible TAA recipients to include; workers in companies that supply services; workers whose companies have shifted production to any foreign country; workers in public agencies; workers whose companies produce component parts of a finished product; workers in companies that supply testing, packaging, maintenance and transportation services to companies with TAA-certified workers; and workers whose companies are indentified in an International Trade Commission “injury” determination listed in the Trade Act of 1974.

Workers experiencing a loss or decrease in employment due to trade may submit a petition to the DOL for certification. Workers certified as eligible have access to a variety of resources such as re-employment services, job search allowances, relocation allowances and various types of income support. The expanded TAA has resulted in more than 1,200 petitions filed since May.

Lehigh Valley’s unemployment rate increases to 8.8 percent

07.30.09

Lehigh Valley’s unemployment rate increases to 8.8 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, July 6th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry in Harrisburg Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report to 8.8 percent. The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 5.4 percent.

There are fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area has the sixth highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 8.2 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 532,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,467,000 and 5,936,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.4 percent, increasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. There are 14,511,000 residents nationally unemployed with more than 13,400,000 receiving unemployment benefits, which does not include workers who benefits have expired. The national unemployment rate is 16.4 percent when workers who have recently lost their jobs but were unable to find full-time employment are counted in.

The study shows the Williamsport MSA and the Erie MSA are tied for the highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.3 percent. The Reading MSA has the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.1 percent, with the Johnstown MSA third at 9.0 percent. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate at 8.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.9 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point form the previous report. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.8 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The Harrisburg/Carlisie MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 7.2 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 425,800, rising by 6,000 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 3,013,800 with 248,500 residents not working. The Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 1,229,700, with 92,300 residents unemployed. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 287,600, with 20,600 residents unemployed. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force in the state at 285,400 with 25,500 residents unemployed.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 60,400. The Altoona MSA is the second smallest at 64,900 followed by the Johnstown MSA at 69,600.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 10.5 percent, increasing by six-tenths of a percentage point from the report before and rising by four and one-tenth of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has 3,400 civilians not working, increasing by 300 from the previous report and increasing by 1,400 from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a labor force of 32,100, the smallest civilian labor force within the Metropolitan Statistical Area. The labor force rose by 600 residents the past twelve months.

Northampton County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.3 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and increasing by three full percentage points during the past twelve months. Northampton County has 12,900 residents not working, increasing by 600 from the previous report and rising by 4,800 during the past twelve months. Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 154,500, increasing by 900 from the previous report and rising by 1,600 during the past twelve months.

Lehigh County has a unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and increasing by three full percentage points from twelve months ago. Lehigh County has 15,900 residents not working which is 1,000 more than four weeks ago andbut 5,200 more than one year ago. Lehigh County has the largest work force in the MSA at 179,800 residents, which rose 1,300 during the past twelve months.

Goods-producing jobs decreased by 5,200 during the past twelve months with manufacturing leading the decline dropping by 5,200 jobs. Construction jobs was the second highest decliner dropping by 1,300 jobs.

Service-producing jobs decreased by 5,300 during the past twleve months. Retail jobs were the biggest decliner within the sector dropping by 1,800 jobs during the past twelve months.

Teen Works agrees to sponsor six projects in Lehigh Valley

07.30.09

Teen Works agrees to sponsor six projects in Lehigh Valley

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, July 15th- What was the last Teen Works Board of Directors meeting attended by Ron Achey, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation Greater Lehigh Valley United Way Labor Liaison, the go-between the labor community in the Lehigh Valley and the organization, and co-ordinator of the labor sponsored Teen Works program, who will be retiring on July 30th, the organization voted to help fund six community projects being conducted by area teens in the Lehigh Valley.

The organization held a meeting on July 14th at the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley office in Bethlehem.

Unions from throughout the Lehigh Valley contribute funds that are donated to area teens involved with a project to help the region. The program is a agency of the Greater Lehigh Valley United Way. All funds donated by the labor organizations is used to support the Teen Works program. The program began in 2000 under the leadership of Mr. Achey. The newspaper attends the monthly meetings and reports on projects supported by the organization.

School students ask the Teen Works Board of Directors for financial help to conduct a community project in the Lehigh Valley. Under the program teen(s) must first complete an application for the financial help and attend a meeting. It is requested youths purchase materials to be used for their project be union or American made.

The most funds that can be provided for any community project is $1,000.00.

Mr. Achey has served as the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison since 1997, after the United Way combined two AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison positions into one. The Greater Lehigh Valley United Way Community Services Liaison geographical area includes Lehigh and Northampton Counties of Pennsylvania.

It was announced at the meeting Gregg Potter, President of the Lehigh Valley Labor Council labor federation and local political activist, was chosen to replace Mr. Achey as the AFL-CIO Community Services Labor Liaison.

Boy Scout Troop 317 member Jonathan Yu of Easton received a grant of $500.00 from the organization for his project. The youth will design and build an observation deck overlooking the Lehigh River to educate the public at the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Canal in Freemansburg.

Boy Scout Troop 5 member Ryan Kloss of Allentown received a $800.00 grant from the organization for his community project. The teen received the grant to help purchase materials to install benches, a table and planters on a patio in front of the America on Wheels Museum in Allentown.

Youths involved with the Camelot for Children in Allentown received a grant of $1,000.00 to help buy materials for their annual activities event for their JCC Camp ground in August.

Boy Scout Troop 8 member Jonathan Whittaker of Allentown received a grant of $600.00 to help purchase materials to repair the walls in Fellowship Hall at UCC Greenawalds Church in Allentown where there is water damage. The project includes painting the walls.

Boy Scout Troop 102 member of Allentown received a grant of $660.00 to help renovate a rundown chapel area in the Wildlands Conservancy in Emmaus. Fencing will also be added.

And finally, Boy Scout Troop 78 member Nathan Serfass of Nazareth received a grant of $325.00 to help purchase materials for his project that will involve building a new closet at the St. John’s UCC Church in Nazareth. The closet will be divided to two equal spaces and lighting fixtures will need to be moved.