Lancaster County Mobile Van Project Stopped Local business

The Lancaster County Labor Development Council has successfully returned a $ 189,413 grant to purchase a mobile van that would provide Internet and computer access to the county’s poor and rural areas, the State Department of Labor and Industry confirmed.

Board tried to get his money back since former CEO Katie Richalski announced her resignation on January 25th. Ryhalski’s resignation was refused, and the council fired her a week later. The executive committee did not name the grounds for Rychalski’s dismissal.

Federal money for the project is under state control and must be spent by June 30. The Department of Labor and Industry said the money would be transferred to another community for another project that has already been approved. It says Lancaster may re-apply for mobile van funding in the future, and the return of the grant will not worsen its chances of being approved.

Government officials said returning the grant to the workforce was rare. Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry spokesman Alex Peterson said earlier that the form submitted by the council, notifying the state he did not accept a grant with an unauthorized signature. Ryhalski was the only person authorized to cancel the project (a process called de-commitment).

The board again sent a form signed by interim executive director John Moser, and it was accepted.

Mr. David Sload, chairman of the Lancaster Labor Council, said the project could be part of plans for the future. He said that the board refused the money, because without Ryhalski the staff would not have been prepared for the project.

Sload said the mobile van project was Ryhalski’s idea and was presented because staff didn’t know enough about it. He said it could be revised, perhaps as part of a new three-year strategic plan.

According to the application, the production of the van can take up to 10 months.

Under the grant application, the mobile van will provide Internet access, training, seminars and other resources for non-participants and disconnected from Lancaster County.

“One of our main strategies is to focus on meeting people where they are,” the statement said. “This mobile van will be one of the most significant tools we will need to achieve the results of our commitment to this strategy.”

The Link Mobile Career Center, headquartered in Williamsport, has inspired a grant application from the Lancaster County Labor Development Council to provide employment services to hard-to-reach jobseekers in need. Since 2017 Link provides mobile services to the counties of Center, Clinton, Columbia, Likaming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union in the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Area.

The council’s application said the car would be called the “Lancaster Link” and would be similar to the one used by the Central Pennsylvania Labor Council.

The application says that the lack of transport plays a role in the labor shortage. The grant was intended for the first phase of the two-part project. The total cost of the project was not included. The first step was the purchase of a van and the approved wrapper of the PA CareerLink logo.

The second phase will include the purchase of computer equipment, maintenance and inspection of the vehicle. It was to be funded by contributions from partners, sponsorship by employers, federal funds from the Innovation and Workforce Opportunities and Private Resources Act. The second phase will also include an outreach plan. Local policies and procedures will be developed to ensure compliance with the operation of the mobile van, the appendix said.

Labor councils are regional organizations established to implement the Labor Investment Act of 1998. The Lancaster County Labor Council is organized as a non-profit organization, and under federal law it must conduct its activities publicly. Its goal is to create and implement local workforce strategies in accordance with state and federal regulations. There are 22 boards in Pennsylvania.

With a budget of about $ 6 million, the Lancaster Labor Council has 25 board members appointed by county commissioners. Federal and state-funded workforce councils oversee the training programs and centers of CareerLink, the state’s service center for job seekers. Prior to the pandemic, more than 35,000 jobseekers came to CareerLink in Lancaster County. Every year more than 700 companies use its services.

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