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Toohil Jobs Hearing a Success!

Local lawmaker brings House Majority Policy Committee to Hazle Township to gather information on job creation and retention


In an effort to address the current unemployment crisis and bring more jobs to Pennsylvania, state Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) today hosted a hearing of the House Majority Policy Committee in Hazle Township to gather information from local, small business men on what they think can be done to help bolster job creation.


“I think it was key to have this hearing in Luzerne County, which was recently cited in a report for having the highest unemployment rate in the state,” said Toohil. “People here are struggling to find work and our local businesses that testified today provided a lot of good ideas and feedback on how to improve the business climate. They also detailed why it is necessary to reassess some of the regulatory and permitting procedures that are hindering job growth.”


Issues brought up by those testifying included job training and education, the Pennsylvania Apprenticeship and Training Council, and increasing health insurance options for consumers and business owners.


Testimony was provided by numerous people on the importance of manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania and the necessity of offering training specifically for such jobs.


“The manufacturing industry is not the same as it was 50 years ago,” said Toohil. “A great deal of manufacturing today is automated, placing a higher demand on high-tech skills and positions in quality control. State government needs to think about how to better train and educate Pennsylvania students for Pennsylvania jobs.”


“Manufacturers are currently struggling to fill the job openings they have with capable, qualified and reliable workers. They simply cannot find job candidates that possess the skill sets they need and are willing to pay top dollar to attract and retain,” stressed Eric Esoda, executive director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center. “In these cases, workforce training subsidy and grant programs, like WEDNet, Industry Partnership programs, and Customized Job Training programs, provide a means through which an employer can affordably improve the skill set of existing workers or new hires. Your manufacturing constituents appreciate your continued funding of those programs.”


Michael Leib, president of the Hazleton Casting Company, noted that he struggles with the amount and complexity of regulations for businesses which is becoming overwhelming and hindering business development and job growth.


“Over the past 20 years I have witnessed more regulations and a dizzying amount of reports that invariably cost enormous amounts of time, plus the retention of consultants to muddle through the compliance issues,” said Leib. “Entrepreneurs, for the most part, do not seek government assistance, but a business environment that is free from unwarranted interference. The jobs will follow.”


Pharmacist and owner of Heights Terrance Pharmacy, John Keegan, spoke about the need to create an environment that supports greater and more competitive health insurance options for both employers and employees. He concluded his remarks by stating, “Slowing the growth of government by controlling taxation, increasing health care insurance options, and increasing competition should be part of an overall plan devised to promote job creation and retention.”


Those testifying at the hearing included Mike Leib, president, Weatherly Casting and Machine Company, Hazleton Casting Company; John Keegan, pharmacist/owner, Heights Terrace Pharmacy; George Hayden, president, George J. Hayden Inc., electrical communication contractor; Eric Esoda, executive director, Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center; Jack Pfunder; executive director/CEO, Manufacturers Resource Center; and John P. Judge, vice president, Education Services, Associated Builders and Contractors, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter.


“Small businesses create the bulk of the new jobs in our economy,” said Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana), chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee.  “We wanted to talk to and learn from local employers about how the Commonwealth can create a climate that promotes job creation.  These are the folks who will be instrumental in our economic recovery.”


“I think the committee took away from the hearing a lot of good ideas and input that will help formulate a quality plan that will make Pennsylvania more attractive to both businesses and job seekers a plan that will encourage, not discourage, business development and job growth,” said Toohil. “I appreciate all the local businessmen who took time out of their busy schedules to offer testimony.”


This was one of a series of hearings conducted by the committee looking into job creation and retention, workforce development, and regulatory issues.


State Representative Tarah Toohil

116th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office              


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