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Wolf Says He Anticipates Bipartisanship On Workforce-Strengthening Plan

Megan Harris
90.5 WESA
The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh is a workforce training site for bricklaying and other skilled labor jobs.

Governor Tom Wolf said Monday that he thinks he can get a bipartisan deal on a raft of workforce development recommendations he’s including in this year’s proposed budget.

However, he said his biggest labor initiative — a minimum wage increase — may not fare as well.

The workforce proposals came from a panel of business and labor leaders Wolf calls his Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center.

Among other things, they advised the General Assembly to expand public and private childcare, make it easier to get professional licenses, and extend unemployment compensation so workers can complete longer job training programs.

Wolf said he thinks the proposals can pass the GOP-controlled legislature—but he’s not so sure about his related minimum wage proposal.

“I think broadly, this is going to engender broad-based support,” he said. “I think the minimum wage — I don’t think there’s as good an understanding as maybe there should be. That’s my bias.”

Wolf has long advocated raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour, and he’s expected to renew the call in his proposal for this year’s state budget.

Senators recently passed a smaller minimum wage increase, but the House hasn’t followed suit.