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Workforce-Development Model Showcased at ‘˜Innovation’ Conference

Two representatives of a much-heralded workforce-training network administered by Pennsylvania College of Technology outlined the program’s structure and successes during a recent conference in Denver, Colo.

Thomas J. Venditti, statewide director of the Workforce & Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania, and Larry L. Michael, executive director of workforce and economic development at Penn College, spotlighted the program for educators attending the Innovation 2008 Conference in March.

WEDnetPA and its Guaranteed Free Training initiative have helped many Pennsylvania businesses and employees become competitive and productive through affordable job training, attracting the attention of educators, legislators and businesses as a model program.

Venditti and Michael were chosen to present the forum session outlining the network’s role in Pennsylvania’s overall workforce-development strategy. Their “WEDnetPA: A Statewide Collaboration of Colleges and Universities to Advance Workforce Training” was a featured presentation in the conference’s Workforce Preparation and Development stream.

Attended by hundreds of community colleges from all over the country, the Innovation Conference is a premier event that showcases ideas and strategies to address workforce preparation and development and basic skills training, among other topics. It is a prime opportunity for workforce-training professionals to spotlight their model programs, to share lessons learned and to look to the future by experiencing a wide array of learning opportunities.

“One of our primary goals is to “¦ show and to explain to other states how such a program can be established to benefit both the workforce- and economic-development needs of industry,” Michael said. “The opportunity presented to us at the Innovation 2008 Conference allowed us to share our success story to a full house of attendees who were eager to learn how (Guaranteed Free Training) has evolved here and explore the circumstances and challenges in starting a similar network in their respective states.”

Venditti and Michael provided a comprehensive overview of WEDnetPA by discussing the need as defined by the commonwealth, formation of the network and relationships among partners, overall network administration and management, GFT guidelines and strategies, eligibility criteria and funding levels, information management and dissemination, and the leveraging of resources through the collaboration with other workforce-training initiatives.

“The Innovation 2008 Conference provides a terrific forum for collaboration among workforce experts everywhere,” Venditti said. “In addition to spotlighting our wonderful program, the conference also provided us an opportunity to learn how other states and colleges respond to their workforce-development needs and to benchmark their programs with ours findings that we’ll use to make us that much more valuable to Pennsylvania companies and their workers.”

For more information about Penn College’s workforce-development efforts, visit online or call (570) 327-4775.

For more information about the Guaranteed Free Training program or WEDnetPA, visit on the Web or call toll-free (877) 933-6387.

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