Workforce development, budgetary concerns and reform for workers’ compensation were a few of the hot-button topics covered by a panel of state legislators at the 3rd Annual Franklin County Legislative Breakfast held recently in Chambersburg, Pa.
Hosted by the five chambers of commerce on behalf of the Franklin County Government Affairs Committee, more than 170 people from the business community attended the event. Attendees gathered to hear from Senator John Eichelberger, Representative Rob Kauffman, Representative Paul Schemel and Representative Jesse Topper.
“We are pleased to host this Legislative Breakfast because it enables our Chamber members to be engaged with public officials about important issues affecting the business community,” said Stephen Christian, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. “As a member of your local chamber, this is only one of many opportunities you have throughout the year to support your business initiatives.”
Moderated by Gene Barr, president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry, the state legislators were encouraged to discuss their current responsibilities and legislation. Areas talked about included workers’ compensation reform, campaign management, the state’s handling of the grand jury investigation of the Catholic Church and the new congressional boundaries.
Barr also invited the state legislators to share what they believed were the most significant problems facing the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Topics included the influence of public sector unions, budgetary issues and unfunded pension liability. Senator Eichelberger, Representative Kauffman and Representative Schemel felt each of those issues would become more critical when another economic downturn occurs. Representative Jesse Topper believed addressing the shortage of skilled workers in Pennsylvania would positively impact all of those topics.
“By working with technology centers, the business community, education and government sectors to increase our skilled labor force, that will be a jet engine for this economy and help us avoid future problems in an economic downturn,” said Representative Jesse Topper.
Attendees also participated in a Q&A with the panelists to talk about local issues such as preparing students to enter the workforce. The state legislators highlighted the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” which encourages schools to expose fifth graders to future career opportunities from the local business community. This early exposure along with other educational opportunities will help drive students to explore career fields beyond the standard college-driven focus.
Special thanks to Grand Sponsor JFC Staffing Companies, the members of the Franklin County Government Affairs Committee as well as the representatives from the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the public policy positions of the Franklin County Government Affairs Committee, please visit Chambersburg.org/PublicPolicyPositions.