Keystone Works – A Bridge Between Job Seekers & Employers

The department of Labor and Industry, PA administers Keystone works – A popular state sponsored program that provides an opportunity for unemployed workers to receive training with an employer while continuing to receive unemployment compensation benefits. This scheme also gives incentives and other benefits to employers who hire trainees after completion of the training schedule.

How Does it Work?

Pennsylvanians who are claiming unemployment compensation under the state funded arrangement (the first 26 weeks) are eligible to apply for on the job training as they continue receiving weekly benefits. The training period varies by the nature of business but can’t exceed 24 hours per week or 8 weeks. Training is provided on the job at the site and is certified by the The department of Labor and Industry, PA.

 How does it benefit?

  • You will have an opportunity to turn job-specific training into full-time employment.
  • The U.C continues whilst in training.
  • You will gain marketable skills.
  • You will maintain a connection to the workplace.
  • You will expand your professional network.

How to Enrol?

Contact or visit your local PA CareerLink® office. Find the location nearest you.

While you are on a lookout for jobs or additional courses to enhance your skill sets,we suggest that you apply for unemployment compensation with the labor department to claim monetary weekly benefits. Read and be educated on your unemployment eligibility before applying.

 Benefits for Businesses 

  • Businesses participating in Keystone Works program do not have to pay any wages to the trainee.
  • Individuals referred to them are pre-screened to meet specific criteria.
  • Businesses are free to decide if they want to hire the trainees upon successful completion of the training.
  • Businesses who hire trainees receive a monetary incentive for doing so – $375 every four weeks the trainee is employed full time, up to a total of $1,500 per trainee hired.


  • The business is willing to offer training.
  • The training will not exceed 24 hours per week or eight weeks.
  • The training is for a position in a high priority occupation (see below).
  • The training is bonafide occupational instruction to benefit the claimant and is consistent with the  Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • The business has not had recent layoffs in the occupations to be trained.
  • Training will not displace current employees.
  • The business is not participating in a Shared-Work program.There are no current labor-management disputes or strikes.

This unique and one of its kind program is a win situation for all, unemployed individual, the state and the businesses. It not only helps unemployed individuals back to work, but also strengthens the workforce providing them additional skills.This program has proven it worth by reducing the strain on U.C fund and contributes to consolidation of the state economy.

For expert advice and questions on unemployment benefits , visit PA Unemployment online community.