Highmark Inc. announced today that it is providing $2 million in funding to 25 organizations across Pennsylvania for career development and job training through the Highmark Local Workforce Initiative.

The initiative was created to recognize organizations that demonstrate the proven ability to make an impact in diverse rural and urban neighborhoods where there may be minority populations, individuals with a disability, veterans or displaced workers seeking career opportunities and advancements.

“We know that there are often barriers that prohibit individuals from obtaining employment, and to create a vibrant and healthy community, individuals need access to sustainable employment,” said Dan Onorato, executive vice president, chief external affairs and communication officer at Highmark. “Through this program, communities where we do business will have the necessary funding to address this pressing issue.”

The Highmark Local Workforce Initiative aligned the knowledge of union officials, community partners and workforce development leaders in an effort to understand where there is the greatest need.

“By learning even more from these experts, Highmark was able to select the organizations that offer the experience, capability and capacity to deliver workforce development services throughout Pennsylvania,” said Mr. Onorato. “It is our hope that these programs become the stepping stones to greater advancements across the state.”

Through donor-advised charitable funds established through the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Foundation for Enhancing Communities, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation and the Erie Community Foundation, the following programs will be offered throughout the state:

Southwest Region

Blind and Vision Rehab, applying advancements to the Access Technology Center.

Family Services of Western PA, providing financial literacy training and auto loans to rural, disadvantaged and minority populations.

Johnstown Area Regional Industries, providing training and placement services for certified nursing assistants.

Keystone Research Center, collaborating with the Pittsburgh Labor-Management Clearinghouse to expand outreach to minorities, and placement of a diverse workforce in construction, building services and hospitality jobs.

PA Women Work!, expanding services such as career and counseling, pre-employment training, tuition and childcare assistance for single parents and displaced individuals in transition situations.

POISE Foundation, offering skills training to minorities for the Marcellus Shale industry.

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, providing a customer service training program for displaced African-American men in disadvantaged communities in Allegheny County.

Veterans Leadership Program, providing resources, training and placement services to veterans, improving their self-sufficiency, sustainability and quality of life.

Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board, supporting re-employment for caregivers in health care.

Northwest Region

Community Education Council of Elk and Cameron Counties, addressing the immediate workforce needs of the Power Metal Industry.

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Erie County, returning displaced individuals to the workforce through mental health training and job coaching.

Regional Center for Workforce Excellence, promoting rapid re-employment and career advancement for in-demand manufacturing jobs.

St. Martin Center, Inc., offering training and placement opportunities in the culinary industry for underemployed and unemployed individuals.

Urban Erie Community Development Corp, teaching English language skills and core concepts directly related to employment skills within the building trades, transportation, health care, logistics and manufacturing industries.

WRC Senior Services, preparing and placing unemployed or underemployed individuals in nursing aid positions.

Central Region

Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation, assisting youth and young adults to complete basic education classes and learn work readiness skills in preparation to enter the workforce.

Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) Foundation, supporting disadvantaged youth to become work-ready and trained for high-demand occupations in manufacturing and health care.

Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, connecting minority youth with apprenticeships in the skilled building trades.

Lancaster-Lebanon Education Foundation, assisting low income, minority youth in obtaining general education development (GED) degrees and providing leadership development, guidance and job training in health care and manufacturing fields.

United Way of the Capital Region, training disadvantaged young adults for jobs with employers who participate in South Central manufacturing and utility training consortia, and developing internships/apprenticeships for disadvantage youth that lead to jobs in utilities and construction contractors to utilities.

YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, serving veterans, domestic violence victims, ex-offenders and low-income disadvantaged youth with employment training, placement services, transportation assistance and general education classes.

Southeast Region

Child Care Information Services, Inc., assisting young, low income parents through a child care scholarship program, enabling them to maintain employment.

Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living, providing vocational support and life skills training for young adults, with any type of disability who are out of school.

Lehigh Valley Business Education Partnership, offering career readiness and employability classes for internships, job shadowing and direct work experiences for minority and at-risk youth.

United Community Services, reducing barriers to employment in building and construction trades through employment education to disadvantaged youth.


Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Highmark serves 4.8 million members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia through the company’s health care benefits business and is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. Highmark has 19,500 employees across the country. For more than 70 years, Highmark’s commitment to the community has consistently been among the company’s highest priorities as it strives to positively impact the communities where we do business. For more information, visit http://www.highmark.com .

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