Tom Wolf, small businesses, and delicious crackers at Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians

Posted on June 27, 2014 by Jeffrey Sheridan

Yesterday, Tom stopped by the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, an organization in Philadelphia that focuses on economic development through job training and small business development. Since 2003, when Irish immigrant Anne O'Callaghan opened the center, the Welcoming Center has assisted more than 10,000 people from over 140 countries.

While there, Tom met Arlene Kaufman, who just last year launched a new Philadelphia-area business called Karma Krisps that makes fruit and nut crackers.

The evolution of Arlene's business is truly a Pennsylvania success story. While on a ski trip with her family, Arlene tasted crackers that she thought were so amazing that she was inspired to create her own cracker company.

There was just one problem: Arlene had no idea how to make her dream business a reality.

Thankfully, Arlene heard about the Welcoming Center's small business development programs and was able to get training and a logo, as well as access to a commercial kitchen that allowed her to spend nearly two years researching and testing her product for taste, texture, and quality.

Karma Krisps has already won several awards in its first year of operation -- proving that all those long hours Arlene spent in the test kitchen paid off.

Many Pennsylvanians have dreams of launching their own small businesses, but like Arlene, don't know how to get their idea off the ground. Unlike Governor Corbett, Tom Wolf understands the importance of private-public partnerships that match entrepreneurs with the resources and development they need to create successful start ups.

In addition to helping people start their own businesses, the Welcoming Center also helps train and match job seekers with growing companies right here in Pennsylvania. In 2010 alone, the center placed 310 people at 75 different companies in industries like healthcare, warehousing, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality.

As governor, Tom Wolf will prioritize funding workforce development and investing in public education to help Pennsylvanians gain the skills they need to create businesses and gain employment in today's global economy.

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