Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback Must Include Matching Students with Quality Job Opportunities, Owlett Says
HARRISBURG – Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) joined more than a dozen fellow lawmakers Wednesday to unveil the Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback initiative. The pro-jobs, pro-families and pro-growth legislative package includes Owlett’s proposal to boost workforce development and better match students with the jobs of today and tomorrow.

“With great challenges come great opportunities,” Owlett said during a Capitol press conference. “We have the ability to rebuild our economy, create jobs and make sure our students are not just prepared for the jobs of today but the jobs of the future.”

House Bill 602 would establish the Career and Technical Education Investment Incentive Program. It would encourage a strong working relationship between employers and educators by providing tax credits to job creators that invest in career and technical education (CTE) programs. Programs could include those offered at Career and Technical Centers as well as programming offered by individual school districts.

“We have some great programs to offer students who are looking to go into the skilled trades, and these investments would make them even better by allowing our schools to provide CTE scholarships or purchase of industry-standard equipment,” Owlett said. “Most importantly, by bringing employers and educators together, we get more coordinated programming that benefits both students and business owners.”

The initiative would be similar to the very successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.

Owlett noted that pre-pandemic, there were nearly 200,000 unfilled skilled jobs in the Commonwealth. More than a half-million jobs are permanently lost due to the pandemic. Young people are having to move out of the state to find jobs, impacting our ability to fund the necessary programs to support our senior citizens and robbing our kids of the choice to stay close to home.

Other measures in the Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback initiative are as follows:
• Reshore to Restore (House Bill 600) would authorize the Commonwealth Financing Authority to designate strategic and targeted zones in the state to be used as the base of operations for manufacturing. Businesses in those zones would receive tax abatements for state and local taxes and would be eligible for targeted job creation tax credits to bring more quality employment opportunities to our citizens.
• Job Creator Recovery and Reinvestment (House Bill 198) would allow a net operating loss (NOL) deduction up to 100% of income to allow job creators a chance to recover from pandemic economic losses and reinvest in PA. The additional deduction would apply only to losses that occurred in 2020.
• Corporate Net Income Taxes (House Bill 603) would provide tax relief to low-income families and foster a climate aimed to assist struggling businesses and attract new business into the Commonwealth by adjusting the special poverty provisions tax exemption thresholds and reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax over a period of years.
• DEP Permit Predictability (House Bill 604) would establish a permitting framework at the Department of Environmental Protection ensure that decisions on permits are rendered reliably and in a timely manner.
• COVID Immunity (House Bill 605) would help provide an expedited and efficient resolution of lawsuits arising out of exposure to COVID-19.
• Jobs of the Future Study (House Resolution 60) would establish a select committee to review opportunities for the development of new industries in the Commonwealth, including advanced manufacturing.

Representative Clint Owlett
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler