Millions of jobs unfilled in Commonwealth; Lancaster’s path to recovery is “getting back to work”

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Millions of jobs remain unfilled in the Commonwealth. More than two million, by some estimates.

State senators and local business owners came together in Lancaster today to find solutions. They believe the path to economic recovery is getting people back to work.  That is top of mind for business owner Deisha Cooper.

“There is a lot of pressure for business owners to hire, hire people and we’re saying we’d like to hire people but here are those problems we’re facing with hiring those people and we need support,” Deisha Cooper, Ephrata business owner, said.

Support for skill gaps, she says, is particularly tricky because it costs money to train new employees, and that can eat away at what little profits small businesses make.

“What we heard consistently today is all these businesses are paying folks well above the minimum wage, north of 15 dollars an hour. They are good-paying, family-sustaining jobs and they can’t find employees,” Senator Ryan Aument said.

Some state senators believe the extra unemployment money is also driving the labor shortage.

Others are not too sure. They believe the reasons are more nuanced and that wage shortage, transportation inequities, affordable housing and accessible childcare are to blame.  Now they’re focused on the future.

“Long term we’re looking at aligning our education with the needs of the economy, prioritizing how we fund institutions of higher education. For example, holding them accountable for the graduates they are producing and the degrees they are awarding,” Senator Aument said.

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