Pa.’s at-risk businesses to gain access to millions in funding

Pennsylvania’s at-risk businesses are getting a financial boost from the Department of Labor and Industry. 

To support Rapid Response Services to stabilize at-risk businesses or attract buyers who would maintain the workforce of an at-risk company, the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) announced $6 million in available Statewide Layoff Aversion Program funding. 

“When workers lose jobs with family-sustaining pay and benefits, it can destabilize entire communities,” L&I Acting Secretary Nancy Walker said in a statement. “Rapid Response Services are critical to minimizing the impacts of mass layoffs and closures, so that Pennsylvania communities and families have a real opportunity to rebound. 

“Likewise, with this grant funding, L&I will prioritize early intervention services aimed at preventing layoffs whenever possible,” she said. 

Pennsylvania provides Rapid Response Services under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity ACT (WIOA). The services assist in early intervention and re-employment services for businesses and their employees affected by a permanent closure, mass layoff, or natural or other disaster resulting in mass job dislocation. 

Rapid Response engages with local businesses in their communities to provide job retention resources for potentially dislocated workers. This helps workers to find unemployment as soon as possible while also preventing loss of wages and economic uncertainty. 

Organizations with the experience and expertise to advance L&I’s goal of developing and using the state’s existing workforce development system to prevent layoffs and aid at-risk businesses are eligible to apply. 

Applicants who can create partnerships to coordinate the design of the project, develop and implement an appropriate budget, deliver services, collect and report performance management measures, and coordinate and evaluate the activities of the project are also eligible. 

Grant applications are due by 4 p.m. on April 3. Additional grant details and the grant application can be found on L&I’s website.

CTCs in Lehigh Valley, Central Pa. awarded grants to purchase new equipment

Career Technical Centers in the Lehigh Valley and Central Pennsylvania are among the 33 CTCs and two school districts to receive competitive grants to purchase new equipment aligned to training students in high-demand occupations. 

Awarded by the Wolf Administration, the grants total $1.2 million in career and technical education equipment. The funding was announced Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). 

CTCs in the Lehigh Valley and Central Pennsylvania received approximately $300,000 in grants. 

“Career and technical centers continually provide excellent educational and professional opportunities for students across the commonwealth,” Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty said in a statement. “Investing in career readiness and career exploration is a priority for PDE, and we encourage recipients to utilize this funding to enhance and expand these learning programs, which will help students excel in their chosen fields.” 

More than 80 CTCs in Pennsylvania offer a combination of classes and hands-on learning in programs approved by the PDE. Students can earn industry credentials or certifications for local jobs in high demand. 

Area awardees and their funding amounts include the following: 

  • Adams County – Adams County Technical Institute, $47,500. 
  • Berks County – Berks CTC, $23,229. 
  • Cumberland County – Cumberland Perry Area Career & Technical Center, $26,935. 
  • Dauphin County – Dauphin County Technical School, $50,000. 
  • Lancaster County – Lancaster County Technical School, $50,000. 
  • Lehigh County – Lehigh Career & Technical School, $50,000. 
  • York County – York Co. School of Technology, $50,000. 

The maximum grant under the program is $50,000, and every grant must be matched dollar-for-dollar from a local source, which can include local school funds or contributions from business and industry partners. 

PennDOT to distribute $171.5 million in funding for electric vehicle charging

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will receive and distribute $171.5 million in formula funds for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure over the next five years as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Funding for National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) in the first federal fiscal year is $25,4 million, and grantees will be required to provide a minimum 20 percent match.

Resources are available to help businesses and organizations to prepare in advance of the NEVI Notice of Funding Opportunity, PennDOT announced. The funding opportunity is expected to be announced in late December 2022 or early January 2023.

PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said the NEVI program will help Pennsylvania build out its EV charging infrastructure.

“As this is a new program for Pennsylvania and the nation at large,” said Gramian, “we want to give our partners and businesses as much opportunity as possible to prepare for application submission to support our efforts of transparency and equity.”

Information regarding applicant eligibility, eligible projects, and costs both eligible and ineligible is included in the NEVI Grant pre-announcement resources. An interactive map identifying existing AFC-qualifying stations and grouped interchanges based on priority through a gap analysis has also been created by PennDOT. Businesses and organizations seeking recommendations on preparing for the grant opening can review the “How to Get Ready” section on PennDOT’s website.

An informational webinar on the 2022 NEVI Grant Program will be hosted by PennDOT on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, from 10 AM to noon. Aimed at audiences interested in applying for the NEVI grant program, the webinar will provide information on eligibility, types of projects funded, how to apply, eligible and non-eligible costs, and application best practices.

NEVI stakeholder sessions featuring an opportunity to expand professional connections and partnership are being held across the state. Individuals interested in the sessions can register on PennDOT’s “Learn About NEVI” webpage.

As Pennsylvania has more than 1,800 miles of designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFC), NEVI grant funding will support both the commonwealth and federal goal of expanding EV charging along AFCs and interstate lookalikes. NEVI formula funds must first be used to build out AFCs and meet U.S. DOT standards and requirements, per guidance from U.S. DOT.

Pennsylvania’s traveler information system – 511PA – includes EV charging station locations on its traffic map. This system is designed to enhance traveler information for EV drivers and lists locations across the commonwealth by connector type, including CCS, J1722, CHAdeMO, Tesla, and NEMA.

Individuals interested in additional information on NEVI funds in Pennsylvania or reviewing PennDOT’s announcement resources can visit the PennDOT website at penndot.pa.gov.

Samuel Balliet Stadium receives state money for upgrades

State grant money totaling $50,000 has been secured to help make improvements at historic Samuel Balliet Stadium in Coplay, state Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, announced Monday.

Coplay Sports Inc. had requested funds to replace broken and unsafe bleachers and for upgrades to the field. The grant will provide $30,000 for new bleachers and $20,000 for infield and outfield materials and equipment.

Built in the 1940s, the stadium was named after Samuel “Sammy” Balliet, an American Legion Baseball coach for the Coplay Athletic Association throughout the 1950s and 1960s. His teams captured six state championships.

The field has hosted youth, American Legion and adult baseball games for more than half a century.

“Samuel Balliet Stadium continues to be one of the most recognized facilities in the baseball community in the Lehigh Valley and we need to support the efforts underway to breathe new life back into the complex, restore its legacy, and return it to its former glory as the crown jewel of baseball stadiums in the area,” McNeill said. “As the stadium is getting ready to install a completely new lighting system, it is critical that the bleachers and stands will be safe for the patrons who will be attending games and events.” McNeill also recently helped secure over $243,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development that will be used to replace the stadium lights destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer