Senator Vincent Hughes

Harrisburg, June 22, 2022 – The Senate today passed a workforce development initiative authored by Sen. Vincent Hughes that will help those preparing students for the workforce better predict what employers will be looking for when they enter the job market.

Hughes’ Senate Bill 168, which requires the Department of Labor to conduct forward looking research into the future needs of the job market and share their work with state agencies that provide training, was amended into an overall workforce development bill before today’s unanimous vote in the Senate.

“The more we know, the better decisions we can make,” Hughes said.  “For too long our research and reporting has been focused on what has happened in the job market instead of what’s going to happen.  By focusing on the future, we can help those educating the workforce better predict what they will need to know.”

The bill requires the Department of Labor and Industry to begin collecting forward-facing employment data on current and projected employment opportunities within the commonwealth including factors such as geographical location, required training and experience for such opportunities.

With that data, the department will coordinate with the Departments of Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, Corrections and Education to align schools and reentry programs across the commonwealth with information about current and emerging industry clusters and high-priority occupations.

“Over the past two decades the job market has changed quickly and dramatically and we’ve been tracking those changes,” Hughes said. “It’s time to use our resources to look forward so that educators have time to make the needed changes in curriculum as the needs of employers evolve. Instead of playing catch-up we will give students what they need to hit the ground running.”

The bill now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote.