Senator Fontana attended a check presentation at Holy Trinity School on April 15th where $79,000 of scholarship money was donated to families in Allegheny County from Bridge Foundation, CSX Transportation, RBC Capital Markets, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, and Verizon as part of the EITC Program.
Presidential Visit Highlights Manufacturing in Pittsburgh Region
When it comes to jobs and job training, Allegheny County must be doing something right because we received a visit from President Obama last week! As you may have heard, the President and Vice President were in town on Wednesday to announce $600 million in competitive grant programs for job training and apprentice initiatives. I was honored to be a part of this recognition and am proud that our local community college will serve as a national model for other job-training programs.
President Obama and Vice President Biden came to our region to promote the need to match education to the demands of the economy. The new grant will invest federal funds into community college programs, like ones at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), tailored to the specific need of a region’s employers. Specifically, $500 million has been earmarked towards community colleges’ efforts to focus on job training with the other $100 million for competitive grants to encourage apprenticeship programs. More importantly, this funding has already been allocated in the federal budget and will not need any new Congressional approval.
As the co-chairman for the Pennsylvania Senate’s Manufacturing Caucus, I find this grant very promising news for our region. Encouraging community colleges and other facilities to partner with the private industry to establish training programs will make it easier for graduates to land jobs in the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, these types of grants will allow Pittsburgh and the Commonwealth to remain a major manufacturing center.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, manufacturing is Pennsylvania’s largest industry sector in terms of gross state product, contributing more than $70 billion to the economy and employing over 558,000 people with average wages of $55,000. However, time and time again, when talking to employers and touring these facilities, the message is always the same: we need more skilled employees that are trained to work these types of manufacturing jobs.
Let’s also not forget the region’s recent job boom with the Marcellus Shale drilling industry. Our abundance of natural gas resources is playing an important role in growing manufacturing jobs. In fact, Pennsylvania has become the second-largest state in oil and natural gas employment, after Texas, adding over 15,000 direct jobs in the industry over the past few years. However, as this particular industry continues to develop, our state needs to put mechanisms in place to ensure we can keep up with the growth by having training programs available to new graduates and recently unemployed. These types of resources will guarantee that manufacturing energy jobs are filled by Commonwealth residents.
Going forward, Pennsylvania needs to focus on the importance of workforce training programs to meet the needs of newly developing manufacturing industries to guarantee our relevance in the ever changing economy. As chairman to this important caucus, I will continue to look for programs like the ones the President has highlighted to ensure manufacturing remains a vital component of Pennsylvania’s economy.
PA Small Water and Sewer Grant Program
The Commonwealth Financing Agency is accepting applications through May 16th for the PA Small Water and Sewer Program, to support smaller projects that improve public water supply and sanitary water systems.
Eligible projects must have a total project cost between $50,000 and $150,000 and involve the construction, improvement, expansion, repair, or rehabilitation of a water supply or sanitary sewer system which is owned by the eligible applicant. Municipalities and municipal authorities are eligible to apply. Eligible projects may also include consolidation or regionalization of two or more water supply systems or sanitary sewer systems which are managed or operated as an integrated system regardless of whether the system is physically connected.
These programs are administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). For more information about the PA Small Water and Sewer Program, and to apply and view guidelines, click here.
DEP Brownfield Redevelopment Seminar
The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is hosting a free seminar in Pittsburgh titled “What All Local Governments Need to Know about Brownfields” on May 14th from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The seminar will take place at DEP’s Southwest Regional Office, located at 400 Waterfront Drive on Washington’s Landing. All municipal, township and borough leaders, county and city planners, redevelopment authorities, community leaders, and economic and industrial development agencies are welcome.
This seminar, being produced in partnership with the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and funded through a brownfield grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will focus on how to breathe life into abandoned and vacant properties. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about successful brownfield redevelopment projects in the area, learn the basics of brownfields, find out where public funding is available and how to apply for it, and network with other municipal organizations.
Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis as space is limited. You can register by clicking here. For more information, please contact Kim Hoover at 717-783-1566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Fontana enjoyed a visit with children at the Sto-Rox Pre-K Counts on April 16th where he read to them and answered questions.
Unused & Expired Medications
Police Departments throughout Allegheny County will be collecting unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs and other medications this Saturday, April 26th as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses from these drugs.
Locally, police departments including: Allegheny County; city of Pittsburgh; Bellevue; Dormont; Green Tree; Heidelberg; Robinson; and Sharpsburg will be collecting unwanted, unused and expired drugs this Saturday. To view a listing of the sites closest to you please click here. For more information on how to properly dispose of unwanted, unused or expired drugs, please visit the DEA's Drug Disposal website.
Did You Know…
Did you know that prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing?
Taste of Brookline
The 3rd Annual Taste of Brookline is scheduled for this Sunday, April 27th from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Church of the Resurrection gymnasium in Brookline. The South Pittsburgh Development Corporation organizes this annual event that showcases the many excellent restaurants and eateries that make Brookline a unique destination and a great place to live. In addition to local food and drink samples from local establishments, live entertainment will be provided with the music of Jack Stanizzo of the Contrails and guitarist Paul Lowe. Tickets can be purchased online at www.tasteofbrookline.com or in person at A-Boss Optical (938 Brookline Boulevard), Cannon Coffee (802 Brookline Boulevard), Kriebl’s Bakery (546 Brookline Boulevard) or Le Cupcake Shoppe (109 Capital Avenue).
Supporting Focus on Renewal Food Pantry
All food and financial donations made to the Focus On Renewal (FOR) Emergency Food Pantry during the month of April will be matched by The Feinstein Foundation. For the 17th consecutive year, Alan Shawn Feinstein, a Rhode Island philanthropist, will divide $1 million among hunger-fighting agencies across the country. Cash, checks and food (valued at $1 per item) will qualify.
If you are interested in contributing by making a financial donation, mark “Feinstein” on the memo line of a check and mail it to:
Focus On Renewal
701 Chartiers Avenue
McKees Rocks, PA 15136
Anyone interested in donating non-perishable items can drop them off at FOR’s Community Center, located at 701 Chartiers Avenue in McKees Rocks during regular business hours Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Pittsburgh was recently ranked as the fifth most “resilient” city in the world in a report offered by Grosvenor Group, an international property development company. The ranking demonstrates Pittsburgh as a good long-term real estate investment as rankings are based climate; environment; resources; infrastructure; community; governance; planning systems; institutions; and technical, learning and funding structures.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
524 Pine Hollow Rd
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216