Harrisburg –The bipartisan state Senate Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus and Manufacturing Caucus focused on the Strategic Early Warning Network (SEWN) which is a cost-effective program used to identify and assist manufacturing companies that are experiencing problems, hopefully before they reach crisis stage. Senators Bob Mensch (R-Berks/Bucks/Montgomery) and Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/ Monroe) co-chair the Economy Business and Jobs Caucus. The co-chairs of the Manufacturing Caucus, Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland County) and Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny County) also participated in the discussion.
The caucuses invited members of SEWN to highlight the layoff aversion services that they offer Pennsylvania businesses at no cost. The presenters consisted of:
- Michelle Staton, Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development and Partnership from the PA Department of Labor and Industry
- Tom Croft, Executive Director of the Strategic Early Warning Network (SEWN) and Steel Valley Authority
- Greg Olson, Manufacturing Director of the Southeast Strategic Early Warning Network (SEWN)
- Patrick Meese, Director of SEWN Central
- Suzanne Smethers, President of Inteprod and Southeast SEWN Client
- Ray Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing for Lifestyle Foods and Central SEWN Client
“SEWN saves manufacturing jobs throughout Pennsylvania by offering layoff aversion services to stabilize, restructure, turnaround, or attract buyers for at-risk small- to medium-sized manufacturing firms.,” said Mensch. “It is far more cost effective to avert a layoff than it is to pay UC benefits and to create new jobs. Likewise it is far more cost effective to support and stabilize existing manufacturers than it is to attract new ones to the State.”
SEWN’s services are free of charge to businesses and is managed in collaboration with the PA Department of Labor and Industry and the Steel Valley Authority, a state-chartered regional authority that has gained national acclaim for its innovative work in industrial retention and capital strategies.
“SEWN is an invaluable resource for manufacturers in Pennsylvania. It has proven successful in preserving jobs and being cost effective time and time again” said Boscola. “The next step is making certain the manufacturing sector in the Commonwealth is aware this incredible resource exists, and encouraging them to utilize everything SEWN has to offer them.”
“Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry has benefited greatly over the past twenty years from the cost effective and invaluable services of SEWN in terms of averting layoffs and business failures,” said Ward. “We need to ensure manufacturing businesses facing difficult situations are aware of this effective tool and the resources it has to offer businesses in times of need.”
“The importance of the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania cannot be understated and SEWN is an important and effective tool in assisting our locals firms to sustain viability in an increasingly competitive market.,” said Fontana. “The value of this program both in terms of cost and results is extraordinary. SEWN has a proven track record of saving jobs and growing our state and local economies.”
Members also had the opportunity to hear directly from Suzanne Smethers and Ray Lopez, two SEWN clients who utilized SEWN’s services to assist their business during critical stages.
SEWN’s core services include financial restructuring, operational restructuring and cost management, ownership transition and buyouts, high performance workplaces, and new markets.
Businesses interested in SEWN’s services are encouraged to contact the closest regional office location.