As part of its ongoing commitment to building an integrated and sustainable economic and workforce development system, Wall Street West has earmarked more than $2 million in WIRED funding to boost the financial services skill sets of northeastern Pennsylvania students and workers. The federal and state-funded program, created to bolster the northeastern Pennsylvania workforce and develop a total backup solution for New York City financial institutions in the event of a disaster, has announced the recipients of the first round of Innovation Investments, who will receive approximately half of these funds. Additionally, Wall Street West has announced it will be distributing individual training accounts in partnership with five regional Workforce Investment Boards.
Currently, more than 63,000 students attend area colleges and universities, with over 2,000 pursuing degrees relevant to the financial services industry. As such, the region offers many highly-qualified prospective employees. However, according to a recent gap analysis, designed to identify gaps between the available workforce and needs of the financial services industry, the region, like many regions across the country, has room for improvement. The Innovation Investments and Workforce Investment programs were created to address these gaps and ensure essential education and training are in place for Pennsylvania workers and students.
“As jobs in the financial services sector continue to shift away from customer service and administrative support positions to management, accounting, finance and information technology positions, Wall Street West remains dedicated to providing the region’s workforce the necessary education and training to keep pace with the changing times,” said Susan Shaffer, director of workforce initiatives, Wall Street West. “Through the Innovation Investments and Workforce Investment programs, more residents will have the opportunity to undergo training specific to the financial services industry or attain advanced degrees.”
Innovation Investments Recipients Unveiled
The Innovation Investments support Wall Street West’s goals of building a stronger financial services sector in northeastern Pennsylvania through a qualified workforce. Innovation Investments encourage collaboration, action and investment from workforce development organizations, education, economic development partners and the financial services industry. Recipients of the first round of Innovation Investments funding include:
Originate Ventures Internship, developed by Originate Ventures, will provide internships at a start up fund to area students.
Ventures Internship, developed by Originate Ventures, will provide internships at a start up fund to area students.
Bridging the Gap, designed by Right Reasons Technologies and ESU, will create an online, modular financial services career awareness program.
Wall Street West Academy, developed by Lehigh Carbon Community College, will provide a comprehensive career and academic program for high school students, which can be replicated at community colleges across the region.
KIZ Intern Program, developed by the KIZ Collaborative, will offer internships focusing on financial services and business continuity/information technology in five Keystone Innovation Zones.
The Financial Literacy Institute for Junior and High School Teachers and Students, developed by the University of Scranton & College Misericordia, will create consistent programming and incorporate the use of Internet 2 to provide education opportunities for eighth through twelfth grade teachers and students.
Workforce Development Program for Financial Services, developed by the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board and Lehigh University, will be a multi-phased program designed to retrain engineers and others in graduate studies in quantitative financial analysis for engineers.
“Fostering a community culture and image supportive of the financial services sector is crucial to the success of Wall Street West,” aid Vito Gallo, Executive Committee member, Wall Street West and co-chair of the Human Capital Committee. “Although northeastern Pennsylvania possesses a strong financial sector, these programs can only help us further develop a sound workforce by delivering educational and training programs.”
Announcing the Workforce Investment Board Collaborative Program
Similar to the Innovation Investments, the Workforce Investment program will bolster the workforce pipeline to financial services and information technology occupations. Individual grants will be provided to northeastern Pennsylvania residents seeking to increase educational attainment levels, including associate degrees or equivalent coursework for bachelor’s or master’s degrees. A collaboration of the five Workforce Investment Boards in the Wall Street West region, the program establishes a common individual training account allocation and outreach materials. Interested parties can apply through the Workforce Investment Board associated CareerLinks. This collaborative model has drawn national recognition as a WIRED best practice from the Department of Labor Education and Training Administration.
Wall Street West is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor Educational and Training Administration WIRED initiative, Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development.
About Wall Street West
Wall Street West is a not-for-profit partnership of more than two dozen local, regional and statewide economic development agencies, technology investment groups, workforce development organizations, educational and research institutions and experts from the private sector. The group secured a $15 million Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help fund its effort to attract New York City-based financial institutions to establish their back-up and back-room operations in the region. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania is the fiscal agent of Wall Street West.
The following institutions are Wall Street West partners: PA Dept. of Community & Economic Development, NEPA Alliance, Monroe County CareerLink, Northampton Community College, Penn’s Northeast, Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, Lehigh University, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Northeast Pennsylvania Technology Institute, Berks County Workforce Investment Board, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry, PA Department of Labor and Industry, US Department of Labor, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lakeland High School, Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, PPL Corporation, Coronel Management Group, Inc., Junior Achievement, Berks; Pike County Workforce Development Agency, Reading Area Community College, Luzerne County Community College, Air Products & Chemicals, Department of Community & Economic Development Lehigh County, BobHay.com Realtors, Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Team Pennsylvania Foundation, PA Office of Financial Education, Berks Economic Partnership, Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corp., Riverside School District, DSS Corporation, Junior Achievement of Northeastern PA, Inc., Diversified lnformation Technologies Inc., Fulton Bank, Great Valley Division; CANDO. Inc., Luzerne County Workforce Investment Office, Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce, Penn State University, Berks; East Stroudsburg University, Blue Cross of NBPA, NE PA Educational Intermediate Unit, Pocono Counties Workforce Investment Board, Pocono Counties WlA, Wilkes University, Wayne County Economic Development Corp., Greater Berks Development Fund, Lackawanna County WIA, and Technology Development & Innovation-University of Scranton.