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 HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Labor and Industry Secretary Tom Foley announced today a total of $4.8 million in Workforce 2000 grants to fund a first-of-its-kind program in the nation designed to help businesses while encouraging the hiring of people with disabilities.
 On behalf of Gov. Robert P. Casey, Foley announced the awards at a ceremony here with representatives of the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation, or CREDC, which is one of 16 economic development groups throughout the state to share in the grant money.
 "National studies indicate that by the year 2000, Pennsylvania will be facing a workforce shortage, meaning employers will have to begin looking to non-traditional workers," Foley said.
 "This is one more program that gives employers another incentive to give people with disabilities a chance they may not otherwise have to prove themselves as loyal, productive workers."
 Under the Workforce 2000 program, money is available to help businesses purchase new equipment if the employer agrees to hire a person referred by the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) to operate it. Although OVR administers the program, businesses apply for funding directly to their local economic development group.
 Since the grant program became available statewide in 1991, Pennsylvania has invested more than $8 million in the program.
 The $4.8 million will provide second-year funding for the eight 1991 participants, as well as first-year funding for eight additional economic development groups.
 During the first year of the program, 103 individuals were placed in jobs paying an average of $6.40 per hour.
 OVR provides job training, counseling and rehabilitation to people with disabilities to improve their ability to live as independently as possible and to get and hold a job.
 The following is a listing of grant recipients and the counties they cover:
 (Second Year Grants)
 -- Corporation for Owner-Operator Projects (CO-OP) $367,500
 -- serves Beaver and Lawrence counties
 -- Lehigh & Northampton Counties Revolving Loan 220,000
 -- serves Lehigh and Northampton counties
 -- Greater Berks Development Fund 157,500
 -- serves Berks County
 -- Middle Monongahela Industrial Development 367,500
 -- serves Washington, Fayette, Greene and
 Westmoreland counties
 -- Pittsburgh-Countywide Corporation, Inc. 367,500
 -- serves Allegheny County
 -- North Central Pennsylvania Region Planning 350,000
 and Development Commission
 -- serves Clearfield, Cameron, Erie, Jefferson
 and McKean counties
 -- Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning 367,500
 and Development Commission
 -- serves Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest,
 Mercer, Venango and Warren counties
 -- Mifflin County Industrial Development Corp. 336,000
 -- serves Mifflin County
 Total (Year 2) $2,533,500
 (Initial Grants)
 -- Capital Region Economic Development Corp. $352,000
 -- serves Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry counties
 -- Johnstown Area Regional Industries 350,000
 -- serves Cambria, Somerset counties
 -- Greater Altoona Economic Development Corp. 275,000
 -- serves Blair County
 -- Bedford County Office of Economic Development 200,000
 -- serves Bedford, Fulton cunties
 -- Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce 150,000
 -- serves Schuylkill County
 -- SEDA-Council of Government $350,000
 -- serves Centre, Clinton, Juniata, Lycoming
 Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union counties
 -- Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development 275,000
 -- serves Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga
 and Wyoming counties
 -- Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pa. 350,000
 -- serves Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe,
 Pike & Wayne counties
 Total (Year 1) $2,302,000
 GRAND TOTAL YEAR 1 and YEAR 2: $4,835,500
 -0- 12/23/92
 /CONTACT: Susan Hensel, deputy press secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry, 717-787-7530/

CO: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

MJ -- PH008 -- 9510 12/23/92 11:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 23, 1992

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