By Kayla Burnham , Budget Analyst | 2 years ago

The Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania (WEDnetPA) distributes funds to qualified companies across the Commonwealth for workforce training. The training gives employees an opportunity to advance their skills and productivity, and also helps businesses remain competitive. WEDnetPA has developed a job training network with 25 partners, including nine universities in the Pennsylvania State System of High Education, 14 community colleges throughout the commonwealth, Pennsylvania College of Technology and North Central PA Regional Planning & Development Commission.


Workforce training is an invaluable tool for a strong business. A report produced by the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania concluded that there is a ripple effect associated with improving the skills of incumbent workers. According to the report, workers become more productive, and in some cases promoted to higher positions within the company; thus, creating new employment opportunities for other workers. In general, recipients of this training program support this claim, as exhibited by a feedback survey in 2018/19.  Of the 413 companies that received WEDnetPA training funds and that responded to the feedback survey:

  • 85 percent described improved product/ service quality within their workplace
  • 72 percent saw an increase in employee moral
  • 37 percent reported that the training aided in job retention
  • 35 percent attributed training to employee pay raises
  • 34 percent noted that the training led to employee promotions

Since the inception of WEDnetPA, 1.23 million workers have been trained, 20,683 companies have been served and 33,525 contracts have been completed. As displayed in Figure #1, 30,460 employees were trained and $7,896,801 in funds were invested in 2018/19.

Figure #1

FY 2018/19 Company Size

Funds Invested


Employees Trained




Less than 100 employees







101 to 250 employees







251 to 500 employees







More than 500 employees















In recent years, WEDnetPA has invested a consistent amount of funding into businesses throughout the commonwealth, as demonstrated in Figure #2. The decrease in training dollars in 2017/18 can be attributed to the overall decrease in the program’s funding source, as illustrated in Figure #3. 

Figure #2


Funding for this program is provided by the Pennsylvania First appropriation within the Department of Community and Economic Development’s budget. As demonstrated in Figure #3, the funding level for the PA First appropriation has been reasonably consistent. In the 2020/21 executive budget, Governor Wolf proposed a new $10 million WEDnetPA appropriation, which would be achieved by shifting the current $8 million in funding from the PA First appropriation and increasing the overall funding to the program by $2 million. As of now, the commonwealth has implemented a five-month stop-gap budget for Fiscal Year 2020/2021. Consequently, WEDnetPA was not funded as a separate appropriation, as proposed by Gov. Wolf. Instead, WEDnetPA continues to receive funding through the PA First appropriation, which was funded at $13.33 million (5/12ths of the amount appropriated in 2019/20).

Figure #3

WEDnetPA Funding History

Fiscal year







Executive Budget


5/12 Budget

Pennsylvania First


















FY 2020/2021 Guidelines

The guidelines for WEDnetPA have changed significantly in comparison to previous years. In accordance with the new guidelines, the training grant amount has increased to $2,000 per employee and up to $100,000 per company. Previously, employers only received up to $450 per employee for essential training and $850 per employee for advanced technology training.

Employers are able to choose their training, the trainer and the training method. Trainings can be conducted in a classroom or online. In addition, trainings can be provided by a private sector trainer, any of the 25 certified WEDnetPA partners, or the business’ own qualified in-house staff.

WEDnetPA’s 25 certified partners serve as a point of contact for businesses seeking funding. Partners are strategically located throughout the commonwealth to ensure that every company has equal access to providers. Partners include:

Certified Partners

  1. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  2. Bucks County Community College
  3. Butler County Community College
  4. Clarion University of Pennsylvania
  5. Community College of Allegheny County
  6. Community College of Beaver County
  7. Community College of Philadelphia
  8. Delaware County Community College
  9. East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
  1. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
  2. HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College
  3. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  4. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  5. Lehigh Carbon Community College
  6. Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
  7. Luzerne County Community College
  8. Montgomery County Community College
  9. North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning & Development Commission
  1. Northampton Community College
  2. Pennsylvania College of Technology
  3. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College
  4. Reading Area Community College
  5. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  6. West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  7. Westmoreland County Community College

Eligible entities


  • Agriculture and Food Production, Bio-Medical, Building and Construction, Business Services, Energy, Healthcare, Logistics and Transportation, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Finance and Insurance, Wood, Wood Products and Publishing

Bank Headquarters

Healthcare facilities

  • Assisted living and personal care facilities, Home healthcare services, Hospice services, Mental health facilities, Nursing homes, Primary-care hospitals, Rehabilitation hospitals

Some unions and labor organizations may qualify

 Company Eligibility

Employee Eligibility

Training Eligibility

  • Funding is limited to two years in a row or three out of the past five years
  • Must be in Pennsylvania
  • Must be an eligible industry
  • An annual full- time employee turnover rate less than 25 percent
  • Must be a resident of and employed in Pennsylvania
  • Earn at least $10.88/ hr., excluding benefits
  • A full- time employee and eligible for full- time benefits
  • Be an employee of the specific company location that receives the award 
  • Must be skill building training for current job, advancement or promotion
  • Must state on or after July 1, 2020 and be completed on or before June 30, 2021
  • Each training session must be a minimum of 30 minutes in length

For DCED’s official guidelines and the application process, please visit:



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By Kayla Burnham , Budget Analyst | 2 years ago

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