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The state Department of Labor & Industry is reaching out to job seekers with partially completed degrees or credentials.

Sheila Ireland, L&I’s deputy secretary for Workforce Development, on Tuesday urged Local Workforce Development Boards statewide to apply for funding for the “Near Completer” program. Applications are now open for a total of $7 million in grants to help those who are close to, but not quite, having all of the skills or training needed to pursue good jobs.

The program, part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Back to Work PA plan, is targeted for individuals who have been displaced from jobs during the pandemic, and were making less than $15 per hour when that occurred. Pilot programs are to begin this fall.

The application deadline is 4 p.m. April 19. Grant materials, requirements and other information are on L&I’s website –

Ireland said in a statement: “I encourage our LWDB partners to submit their applications and create pilot programs ... to help put Pennsylvanians who are close to completing their degree or certification firmly on the path to a better career and higher income.

“The Near Completers program doesn’t just help job seekers, it helps all of us.”

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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