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Program Hopes To Keep Skilled Workers In Westmoreland County

NEW STANTON, Pa. (KDKA) -- Westmoreland County is losing skilled workers, and it's not because of COVID-19.

One county commissioner said it's a problem that's been growing for some time, but it can and must be reversed.

Commissioner Sean Kertes said the number of people in the workforce has dropped dramatically. The coronavirus has played a role but not as much as you'd think. According to state numbers, the county went from 184,000 workers in 2010 to 176,000, a drop of 4 percent.

While agriculture and tourism are the top two employers, trades and manufacturing are third, and the opportunity for economic growth is in that sector.

Kertes has championed "Grow Westmoreland," a private non-profit entity program created to get young adults to stay in the county. While a 4 percent drop in 10 years may not seem like a lot, the trend needs to be reversed.

"We're not at DEFCON 1 yet," Kertes said. "The world isn't going to end tomorrow, we're not going to have serious issues. But it starts today, what are we going to do in the next five to 10 years to really have a reason to stay in Westmoreland County?"

If you want more on the program, click here.

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