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Grants, regulations and contractual news galore at all levels

Grant funding of $155,000 will broaden apprenticeship opportunities for women, people of color and other underrepresented workers in the building and construction trades, members of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives announced Aug. 17 via statement.

Department of Labor and Industry funding includes $90,000 to Steamfitters Local 449 to add 25 new regional apprenticeships and $65,000 to the A. Philip Randolph Institute Education Fund to enhance the “Breaking the Chains of Poverty” Career Pathways pre-apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeships were 100% federally funded with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act statewide activity funds.

“A large percentage of available talent never gets tapped because many women and diverse job seekers don’t have access to the apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that are the prime gateway to these trades. Securing this new funding for Steamfitters Local 449 to expand these programs is a great step in the right direction,” said State Rep. Dan Deasy via statement.

In addition to Deasy, the Allegheny County Delegation includes Anita Kulik, along with Delegation Chairman state Rep. Nick Pisciottano and state Reps. Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel, Matthew Gergely, Emily Kinkead, Brandon Markosek, La’Tasha D. Mayes, Joe McAndrew, Dan Miller, Abigail Salisbury, Mandy Steele and Arvind Venkat.

Montour Run Road

Multi-million-dollar federal investment will be made into the Moon Transportation Authority for reconstruction efforts at Montour Run Road and Market Place Boulevard roadways.

The funds will allow Moon Township to enhance and upgrade 1.25 miles of state-owned arterial roads and local roads that will facilitate the next phases of construction on the new Moon Township Marketplace District. This district is a transformative, mixed-use development project that will create jobs, new businesses, commercial areas, and housing in the region according to Rep. Chris Deluzio.

“I am proud that $3.5 million in congressional, federal investments will go toward critical road upgrades that will safely connect this new community with the wider region,” said Deluzio via statement.

Montour Run Road upgrades will include adding through lanes and turn lanes, improved intersections, and a quarter-mile reconstruction of Market Place Boulevard to accommodate 13,000 vehicles traveling through the area.

The road is set to be widened and a sidewalk will be installed to enable private development of 700-acres at Marketplace District in Moon.

The project is designed to decrease crash rates in the project area which currently has 1.82 crashes per million vehicles of travel, exceeding the statewide average rate of 1.3 to 1.7 for similar roadways.

The overall economic activity at the new Marketplace District in Moon Township is forecast to bring $14 million in taxes every year to local and state governments. The Marketplace District also includes hundreds of new housing units, both in the form of apartments and single-family homes. New businesses and recreation areas are also part of this mixed-use development plan. The Marketplace District is expected to create more than 1,900 direct construction jobs and more than 1,500 ongoing, permanent jobs.

Discrimination decrease

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission announced new regulations, more clearly explaining the definitions of “sex, religious creed, and race,” are now effective in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

According to the new regulations, the protected class of “sex” includes pregnancy status, childbirth status, breastfeeding status, sex assigned at birth, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, and differences in sex development.

Following the Independent Regulatory Review Commission’s approval in 2022, the PHRC’s final-form regulations were approved by the PA Office of Attorney General and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin in June 2023.

“Today represents an important day in the commonwealth,” said PHRC Chair M. Joel Bolstein. “These regulations now more clearly state what was already a fact, all discrimination in Pennsylvania is illegal.

The PHRC wants our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and friends and neighbors to know that Pennsylvania is a safe, accepting, and welcoming place for you and everyone. It has been a long journey to get here, and I am proud of the hard work and dedication of the PHRC staff.”

The new regulations also explain the protected class “race” includes traits associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles.

Finally, the regulations more clearly defined “religious creed” to include all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.

The PHRC enforces the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act covers discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property, education, and public accommodations. The Pennsylvania Fair Education Opportunities Act is specific to postsecondary education and secondary vocational and trade schools.

Under the PHRA, Pennsylvania law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, age (40 and over), sex, ancestry, national origin, religion, familial status (only in housing), disability, use, handling, or training of service animals for a disability and retaliation.

SEIU contract

More than 10,000 Pennsylvania Commonwealth employees are set to receive pay increases and healthcare protection after the Service Employees International Union inked a new four-year state contract.

The ratification process took place over several weeks, with members participating in both in-person and remote meetings to review the tentative agreement prior to voting, and passed overwhelmingly.

“Commonwealth employees don’t go into their fields expecting to get rich. Often they’re forced to deal with overwhelming workloads and limited resources while doing vital work. But they always approach this work with dignity and commitment and deserve a contract that respects them and reflects that,” said SEIU Local 668 President Steve Catanese in a statement.

Cantonese said the contract was an acknowledgment of the essential work and services union members provided throughout the extraordinary events of the last four years.


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