Drug tests not biggest barrier to employment in Pa., job-training expert says

    Democrats have pounced on Gov. Tom Corbett’s comment that some in Pennsylvania aren’t getting jobs because they can’t pass drug tests.

    To political opponents, the comment from Republican Corbett sounded like a reprise of a remark he dropped on the 2010 gubernatorial campaign trail, when he said “the jobs are there.”

    “There are many employers that say ‘we’re looking for people, but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test,’ a lot of them and that’s a concern for me,” Corbett said Monday on the “Ask the Governor” radio program. “We’re having a serious problem with that.”

    Connecting employers with drug-free applicants is a problem, though it’s not the biggest one, said Scott Sheely, head of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, which provides job training.

    “In terms of the range of issues we run into, that may not be the No. 1 or No. 2, but it’s one of them that’s of concern to employers,” he said Wednesday.

    In particular, Sheely noted, a clear drug test is key in the health-care and manufacturing sectors, which have been doing a lot of the hiring lately in his area.

    The Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council, made up of manufacturing company chief executives and industry experts, makes passing reference to the issue in its 2012 report.

    It doesn’t suggest drug tests are leaving jobs unfilled, but does recommend job applicants should be provided with additional incentives to pass voluntary drug tests.

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