Working toward the goal of economic recovery and growth for Pennsylvania, Reps. Joe Hamm (R-Lycoming/Union) and Jeff Wheeland (R-Lycoming) co-hosted a panel of educational, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and business leaders before the House Majority Policy Committee in Lycoming County on Tuesday to address the issues facing Pennsylvania businesses today.
“Pennsylvania businesses are hurting and today we heard, directly from them, three common points,” said Hamm. “Regulations and red tape from Harrisburg are strangling our business owners, making it much harder for them to operate in Pennsylvania. Second, the continued government handouts paying 42% of Pennsylvanians more to stay home than to go to work continue to hinder our Pennsylvania businesses. Those first two can be solved by government getting out of the way of the free market. Lastly, the need for a workforce that is trained and ready to meet industry needs has never been more important.”
“While pandemic restrictions have long been lifted in Pennsylvania, it cannot be denied that the business climate has changed in the Commonwealth. Be it hiring, retention or general business practices, nothing is as it was two years ago,” said Wheeland. “These hearings are a great opportunity for us to see, firsthand, the challenges our businesses are facing as we work to move forward.”
Held at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, the committee heard testimony from:
• Shannon Munro, vice president for workforce development for the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
• Dave Lanzer, director of operations for West Pharmaceutical Services Inc.
• Evan Neely, continuous improvement manager for Advanced Drainage Systems.
• Shannon Massey, senior vice president for Lycoming Engines.
• Jason Fink, president and CEO for the Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce.
Testimony from several panelists suggested the biggest issue facing businesses is a shortage of workers, and that excessive unemployment compensation programs and a gap in education and training are significant contributors to that issue.
“While there are certainly a variety of factors that are impacting our current situation, expanded
unemployment compensation and continued stimulus payments are undoubtedly playing a role,” said Lanzer. “We encourage our state government officials to pursue unemployment policies that support short-term unemployment financial needs, while providing more robust programs that truly encourage and incentivize job seeking and a quicker transition back into full-time employment.”
“Employers hold the key to growing Pennsylvania’s economy, and we – education, economic development, government – must do our part to support them in the most fitting ways,” said Munro. “Whether a high school student chooses the path of a degree or certificate or goes straight to work, they cannot escape the need to learn continuously throughout their career. It is more important than ever to invest in education and training that aligns with the needs of employers.”
“I thank Reps. Hamm and Wheeland for hosting the Policy Committee in Lycoming County and giving us the chance to speak with area leaders in business and workforce development,” said House Majority Policy Committee Chairman Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter). “As the landscape of business in Pennsylvania has changed, so must our approach to economic growth. Hearing from these area leaders gives us great and useful information with which to decide our course of action.”
Representative Joe Hamm
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Kevin DiGuiseppe