BREINIGSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A panel searching for ways to advance manufacturing in Pennsylvania recommends tax cuts, public-private partnerships with schools and policies that recognize natural gas production as an opportunity for developing new markets.
Gov. Tom Corbett and members of his Cabinet unveiled the report from the Governor's Manufacturing Advisory Council at four news conferences Tuesday around the state. It was financed without taxpayer money by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation.
The 24-member panel of industry leaders urged companies to work with public schools to encourage students to pursue manufacturing careers and recommended a laundry list of tax cuts and credits that benefit manufacturers.
The report also calls for a statewide energy plan with the goal of making Pennsylvania's energy costs the lowest and most stable in the nation. Among other things, it advocates the use of the natural gas that is widely being extracted from underground rock formations in Pennsylvania for combined heat and power projects that benefit manufacturers.
Manufacturers employ 574,000 people in Pennsylvania — 10 percent of the state's workforce — and that figure has increased in each of the last two years, according to the report. In 2011 alone, more than 12,000 new manufacturing jobs were created, it said.
"We've recently seen the largest increase in manufacturing jobs in the state since 1991, but we can do better," the Republican governor said at a news conference at a Lehigh County plant.
"Bridging the gap between job-seekers and employers will address the great disconnect that currently exists between the number of available jobs and the number of people who are looking for work," Corbett said.