Workforce challenges faced by employers in rural communities were voiced by PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs Kevin Sunday this week in a public hearing hosted by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.
Held at Penn College, the hearing included participants from PA Chamber members, UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Coterra Energy, Shippensburg University, and Penn College. Leaders from Pennsylvania’s energy and healthcare sectors along with agency officials, educators, and nonprofit associations were also on hand.
Sunday testified on workforce challenges in rural communities, highlighting the importance of improving Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness through favorable tax and regulatory policies. He said the PA Chamber’s goal is to make Pennsylvania the most economically competitive state in the country.
“This requires a tax and regulatory environment that encourages investment into the state,” Sunday said in a release.
Sunday emphasized the need to support economic growth across Pennsylvania through modernized infrastructure.
“We need modernized infrastructure across the state – from a safe and efficient system of roads and bridges to world-class airports and ports, to reliable gas, electric, and water infrastructure, and, just as important, access to high-speed broadband,” he said.
Sunday restated the chamber’s support for efforts to improve Pennsylvania’s workforce by addressing key issues such as affordable childcare, occupational licensing requirements, re-entry into the workforce following incarceration, and childcare for working families.
Noting Pennsylvania’s population decline, Sunday called for policymakers to focus on creating an environment in the state promotes population growth and attracts investment. Citing IRS data showing that businesses and citizens are leaving Pennsylvania for states with better economic climates, he urged a close look at regional economic needs and population migration trends.
“Reforms to the state’s tax and regulatory structure help everywhere,” said Sunday, “but it is certainly the case that each region of the state has its own key industries.”
Sunday reiterated the PA Chamber’s commitment to working with the Shapiro Administration, state legislature, local communities, and other key stakeholders to deal with Pennsylvania’s workforce challenges.