Addressing the need to fill open public service positions throughout Pennsylvania, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride and members of AFSCME Council 13 joined House Speaker Joanna McClinton at a press conference Tuesday in Harrisburg.
A commonwealth-sponsored hiring hall will take place Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the AFSCME Council 13 Conference Center in Harrisburg. Job seekers can meet with recruiters from several agencies – including the Departments of Corrections, Human Services, Environmental Protection, Transportation, General Services, Revenue, and Banking – and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions on the spot.
“Never before have we been able to see so many vacancies, all at the same time, through different departments here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” McClinton said at the press conference. “But the best thing is – right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – we have people of all backgrounds, all ages, who have the qualifications and skills to fill these vacancies. And we look forward to them coming to the hiring fair (Wednesday), learning about the opportunities, and spreading them across their networks so we can fill these jobs.”
Short staffing exists among nurses, PennDOT workers, corrections officers, and others. AFSCME launched the “Staff the Front Lines” initiative this year, to partner with elected officials on recruiting and retaining the essential workers who keep communities running. The Staff the Front Lines bus is holding recruitment events in more than 20 major cities across the U.S. this summer.
“We are doing this because our communities simply cannot function without the everyday heroes who keep our streets clean, take our kids to school and ensure our water is safe to drink, and we need a lot more people filling these vital roles,” AFSCME Council 13 Executive Director David Henderson said. “On top of making our communities better, these are often union jobs with good pay, great benefits, retirement plans and job security.”
AFSCME Council 13 Member and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services worker Susan Bosco said it doesn’t matter how old or young an applicant is or where they’re from.
“If you have a passion to serve your community, you can do this work,” said Bosco. “That is why public service often reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. … Take it from me, as someone who has lived through it: In the private sector, you are often seen as just a number. In public service, you are an essential part of your community.”
McBride said the population of Allentown, Erie, Pittsburgh, Reading, and Scranton combined (970,000) is also the number of public sector job vacancies in the U.S.
“And that’s why we started the national Staff the Front Lines bus tour,” said McBride. “At every stop on the tour, we’re talking about the importance of recruiting and retaining the next generation of public service and health care workers. We’re lifting up the fact that these union jobs come with strong rights and protections. We’re shining a light on the opportunity to be part of something bigger.”