DOVER – Gov. Tom Corbett has signed legislation that will help to connect unemployed Pennsylvanians with employers who are looking for new hires.
Sponsored by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), House Bill 1539, Keystone Works, provides an opportunity for unemployed workers to receive training with an employer while continuing to receive unemployment compensation benefits.
The Keystone Works program also gives employers the incentive to hire trainees once their training is complete.
“One of my main priorities as governor is to ensure a job for every Pennsylvanian that wants one,” Corbett said. “Keystone Works is a critical step to helping unemployed Pennsylvanians find work.”
The program allows unemployment compensation claimants to receive training directly from an employer looking for people to fill openings in high priority occupations. High priority occupations are those which are in demand by employers, usually require higher level skills and likely provide higher wages. These occupations are determined by the Department of Labor & Industry using labor statistics such as importance of this occupation to its industry, annual job openings, job quality and labor supply.
During the training period the employer will not provide any compensation to the worker, who will continue to receive their unemployment compensation benefits. At the conclusion of the training period the employer will receive a monetary incentive when the employer hires the unemployed, newly-trained worker.
“This program keeps unemployed workers connected to the work-force. It provides employers with trained employees. It gives everybody a chance at training in the fields where jobs exist,” Corbett said.
Keystone Works requires that all training programs be approved by the Department of Labor & Industry and that they are consistent with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Participating businesses are also required to provide a maximum of 24 hours of training a week for up to eight weeks. Employers who elect to hire the worker after training will receive monetary incentives in the amount of $375 for every four weeks the new hire is employed up to a total of $1,500.
The governor was also joined by Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway , whose department is responsible for the administration of Keystone Works.
“Keystone Works will give unemployed Pennsylvanians the opportunity to return to the workforce – quickly, and with the training they need for a great career,” Hearthway said. “And, participating employers will know their hires will be ready for the unique challenges of their own particular workplace.”
Corbett, joined by Saylor, Hearthway and several members of the General Assembly who advocated for the legislation, ceremonially signed the law at Schugt Manufacturing in Dover after touring the facility.
“This bill rewards work. It rewards job creation and it honors the work ethic and values of Pennsylvania workers,” said Corbett.
Schugt Manufacturing is an approved participant in the Keystone Works program and has an individual currently in their training program. The company specializes in machining parts for the transportation, printing and pharmaceutical packaging industries.
To read the full text of the legislation, visit the General Assembly’s website at www.legis.state.pa.us. Corbett originally signed the bill on July 5.
For more information on Governor Corbett’s commitment to job creation, visit www.governor.pa.gov.