The purpose of Advance Central PA is in our name. Beginning with the strategy of our private sector led workforce development board and oversight from our local elected officials board, our staff lead with a passion to advance the skills of job seekers, opportunities for young people, and certainly the competitive edge of our businesses.

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The story of Advance Central PA begins with the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, now called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) of 2014. The Act provides federal funding for workforce development nationwide. Under WIOA, Pennsylvania’s Governor designates local Workforce Development Areas (WDAs), each of which has a Workforce Development Board (WDB) that is responsible for the oversight, planning, and evaluation of workforce services.

Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC), dba Advance Central PA, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization designated as the local WDB. The Central Pennsylvania WDB governs the workforce development system for the Central WDA consisting of Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union counties.

Advance Central PA oversees programs that are designed to assure that businesses in Central Pennsylvania remain competitive and grow jobs, that workers have opportunities to obtain skills that will help them become or remain self-sufficient, and that our communities are economically resilient. We are committed to the development and unification of a demand-driven workforce system that will attract and grow businesses and the Central Pennsylvania economy.

To accomplish this, we:

Bring together policy makers, business, organized labor, government agencies, education entities, economic development agencies, and the public to better understand workforce needs and to identify solutions.

Develop and implement comprehensive regional strategies to meet the education and job training needs of the workforce.

Oversee PA CareerLink® locations throughout the Central Pennsylvania Region to provide a variety of services to employers and individuals seeking employment opportunities.

Collect and analyze labor market information to identify employment trends, skills gaps, and education and training needs and disseminate the information to policy makers, educators, business, PA CareerLink® partners, and job seekers.

Strengthen alliances with economic development to identify and address the workforce needs of current and future industries and promote the availability of Central Pennsylvania’s qualified workers.

Ensure that youth have access to opportunities in education, career exploration, and meaningful work experiences.

Promote strategies to improve education levels and basic workplace skills needed to meet the needs of companies and improve their competitiveness in today’s marketplace.

Support strategies that encourage life-long learning and continuous improvement of workplace skills.

Advocate for the importance of workforce policy and provide perspective about the need for a skilled workforce.


Our MISSION is to be the leading vehicle for regional unification, coordination, integration, and alignment of workforce activities, resources, and initiatives to support economic sustainability, improve education systems, and develop and retain a quality labor force in Central Pennsylvania.


Our VISION is to be recognized as the premiere agency for workforce development strategies and activities and to build the capacity of the workforce system through systematic change, integration of resources, and continuous improvement in Central Pennsylvania.

Our Region

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Our 9-county Workforce Development Area (WDA) covers a total of 5,370 square miles.

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Central PA is primarily rural and home to 619,300 residents.

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Populations range from 18,200 in Montour County to 163,300 in Centre County.

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For persons ages 25 years and older, 34% hold an associate’s, bachelor’s, graduate, or professional school degree.

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Median household incomes range from $48,700 in Northumberland County to $60,400 in Centre County.

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Major highways put Central PA within easy reach of Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.

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284,200 jobs can be found locally, with government, including educational services, healthcare and social assistance, and manufacturing, being the largest employing industries.

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Home to 31 public school districts, a variety of private and parochial schools, 7 cutting edge Career and Technical Education providers, and 7 distinguished academic institutions: Bloomsburg University, Bucknell University, Lock Haven University, Lycoming College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, and Susquehanna University.

county map of Pennsylvania showing highlighted counties in Central PA

Our Staff

Advance Central PA staff carry out the day-to-day operations of the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board (WDB). Staff routinely engage with key stakeholders to promote awareness of workforce needs, coordinate the planning of workforce development programs and activities, negotiate agreements with providers, receive funding, and monitor program progress. Our people are self-motivated, innovative, and talented professionals who are dedicated to using our diverse backgrounds to strategically address the current and future workforce demands. Our strength comes from the commitment of people who want to make a difference in shaping the economic future of Central Pennsylvania.

Erica Mulberger

Executive Director

Korrie Lucas

Assistant Director

Brooke Gessner

Finance Manager

Allison Grose

Youth Coordinator

Amy Keefer

Fiscal Coordinator

Jamie Mercaldo

PA CareerLink® Administrator

Patrick O’Connor

Adult Programs Coordinator

Marca O’Hargan

Compliance Monitor/EO Officer

Gabi Randall

Research & Grants Coordinator

Cheryl Reish

Senior Accounting Coordinator

Kristie Swetts

Business Engagement Coordinator

Rachael Ulmer

PA CareerLink® Administrator

Kelly Walter

Office/Board Coordinator


Mentor Coordinator