Image Map

Senate Democrat’s Plan to Create Jobs, Spark Economy in Pennsylvania

October 9, 2013

SCRANTON- Creating jobs and fueling Pennsylvania’s economy were the topics of a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing Tuesday in Scranton as they were joined by venture capitalists, economic development analysts, and public policy experts.

Venture capitalists, public policy experts and economic development analysts today debated the strategic elements of the Senate Democratic plan to grow jobs and foster business creation and expansion in Pennsylvania.

Called “PA Works,” the Senate Democratic strategy is a multi-faceted approach that includes dozens of proposals and incorporates Senator Blake’s groundbreaking “Innovate in PA” program. If enacted, “PA Works” would create an estimated 80,000 jobs and generate $2 billion in new private investment.

“We’re talking to local, state and private experts on the economy because we believe Pennsylvania can do more to drive economic activity and encourage investment and job growth. We’re excited about ‘PA Works’ and its prospects for both short- and long-term benefits to our state’s economy,” Senator John Blake of Lackawanna COunty said.

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee, chaired by Senator Lisa Boscola, Northampton County, engaged three panels of experts at the University of Scranton’s Loyola Science Center.

Senator Blake’s “Innovate in PA,” is designed to improve Pennsylvania’s capacity to support the job creators of the future with new investments of nearly $100 million in the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, information technology and energy business sectors.

Mike Gausling, the managing director of Originate Ventures, praised “Innovate in PA” for being there for new businesses.

“Investors who don’t take as much risk aren’t going to show up (with investment dollars), so it is critical for the state to step up and provide early stage risk capital,” Gausling said.

For each dollar the state invests, said Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast PA CEO Chad Paul, there will be a $3.60 return.

The five critical elements of “PA Works” that were spotlighted at the hearing will, among other things, invest in the state’s small businesses, develop and rebuild infrastructure, better prepare workers for in-demand jobs, and train veterans for fulfilling civilian careers.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate increased in August to 7.7 percent while the national jobless rate hovered at 7.3 percent. The U.S.

Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said PA is 45th in the country in 2013 for year-to-date employment growth.

Others testifying before the committee on the “PA Works” plan and “Innovate in PA” were Richard Stein, CEO, Klios Inc.; Amy Luyster, assistant vice president, The Scranton Plan; Dr. Mel Billingsley, CEO, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA; William J.

Schoen, administrator, Skills in Scranton; Ronald Vogel, regional representative, PA Department of Labor & Industry; Teri Ooms, Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development; and David Jadick, acting public affairs officer, Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Weather Forecast