The Ohio-Penn Interstate Regional Collaboration is announcing that it was the recipient of a nearly $1 million grant from the Department of Labor for the buildout of a workforce development program benefiting Mercer and Lawrence counties in Western Pennsylvania. 

The funding, which comes from the US Department of Labor's Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) initiative, is specifically for engaging local communities in Appalachia with the development strategies and preparation necessary to prepare workers for jobs in high-demand industries.

"Manufacturers and jobseekers on both sides of the border will ultimately be the beneficiaries of this significant grant funding," said Chris Becker, President of G.W. Becker Crane.

G.W. Becker Crane is one of three businesses, the others being ELLWOOD and Hall Industries, who are leading spearheading the formation of the Lawrence Mercer Manufacturers Coalition (LMMC), which will serve in a similar capacity as the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition which is helping upstart the LMMC, to aid workforce development in the region.

"MVMC is the gold standard in Ohio among the state's 16 endorsed sector partnerships, and leveraging their experience and success as we form our own group in Western Pennsylvania has been extremely advantageous, and this grand funding will help accelerate our development," said Dave Douglass, Operations Manager at Hall Industries, Inc.

The funds will also go towards resources aimed at connecting employers with employees, workforce retention, and employment diversity programs.

The LMMC will hold a meeting for Lawrence and Mercer County manufacturers on October 17th at Westminster College to provide information about the Coalition and answer questions area manufacturers may have. Interested employers can contact [email protected] for meeting specifics.