In an effort to help boost employment opportunities in manufacturing and technology-based businesses, the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania (WEDnetPA) has awarded five companies in the 68th Legislative District a total of $45,233 to assist with job training needs, Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga) announced.

"This funding will help companies train employees for advanced positions in their business," said Baker. "Here in the northeast, we have a growth of manufacturing companies due to the natural gas industry and this funding will help ensure that our local workers are trained to become more efficient and better qualified, which ultimately helps with job retention and providing higher wage opportunities for workers."

Specifically, the WEDnetPA grants help companies provide employees with a higher level of training in the areas of basic skills and information technology than their training budgets might otherwise allow.

Area companies are receiving the following WEDnetPA grant funding for the 2012-13 fiscal year:

AES Armenia Mountain Wind - $3,968

Hitachi Metals Automotive Components - $11,700

Hitachi Metals Automotive Components USA, LLC - $7,000

Troy Community Hospital - $5,765

Ward Manufacturing - $16,800

Baker noted that in the 2011-12 fiscal year WEDnetPA provided $42,859 in total grants to six companies in the district. On average, companies provide a four-to-one match for every WEDnetPA dollar invested in training.

The following companies received grant funding in the 2011-12 fiscal year:

Citizens and Northern Corporation - $20,248

Truck-Lite Co., LLC - Wellsboro - $2,285

Osrama Sylvania Inc. - $9,445

Troy Community Hospital - $6,052

Land Services Group/Cunningham Surveyors - $2,550

Select Energy Services, LLC - Mansfield - $2,276

"By investing in the great Pennsylvania workers we currently have, we can sculpt a better workforce without having to employ people outside the state," said Baker. "Our economic recovery relies largely on improving our existing business climate and placing local people in family-sustaining jobs, and these types of business grants help achieve those goals."

Since its inception in 1999, WEDnetPA has invested in more than 16,000 companies across Pennsylvania and helped train nearly one million workers.

Submitted by Rep. Matt Baker