Governor Wolf Tours Expansion of Iron Workers Training Center, Touts Investments in Apprenticeships
August 10, 2018
Pittsburgh, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined local officials, employers and members of Iron Workers Local 3 today to tour ongoing renovations of the Iron Workers Training Center in Pittsburgh and discuss apprenticeships and PAsmart. The Wolf Administration provided $750,000 in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding announced in June to help expand the facility and significantly increase the number of apprentices who will be trained.
“Western Pennsylvania has more ironworker jobs open than there are skilled workers to fill them,” said Governor Wolf. “I am investing in apprenticeships and job training like this, so we can meet the demand for workers to build the cracker plant, manufacturing facilities, bridges and many other projects that are creating jobs.”
The $4.2 million project will upgrade and expand the first floor and add a second floor to the training center, creating more space for hands-on training with modern equipment. The union expects to increase the number of apprentices from approximately 90 last year to more than 300 next year.
“Not everyone wants to go to a four-year college, but apprenticeships like this enable workers to earn a good wage while learning at the training center and on the job with an employer,” said Governor Wolf. “These are jobs that can support a family and create a strong workforce that will attract more industry to Pennsylvania.”
The starting wage for apprentices in the Iron Worker’s program is $19 per hour, which increases with experience. After the apprenticeship, the starting wage of journeymen is $33 per hour or more, plus benefits.
Governor Wolf is expanding apprenticeship opportunities in Pennsylvania. His new and innovative PAsmart initiative will invest $30 million in workforce development. Of that, $7 million will be an increase in apprenticeships with a goal of doubling the number of registered apprentices by 2025. Since Governor Wolf established the commonwealth’s first Apprenticeship and Training Office in 2016, the number of registered apprentices has increased by nearly 20 percent from 13,282 registered apprentices to nearly 16,000.
PAsmart also includes a $3 million increase in the successful Industry Partnerships program, which connects similar businesses with educational and economic development partners to provide the job training. An additional $20 million will be invested in education for the rapidly growing fields of science, engineering, math and technology (STEM) and computer science.
In July, the governor was joined by business and labor leaders to sign an executive order that cuts red tape, improves coordination between several state agencies and more effectively delivers workforce development services to Pennsylvanians.
The executive order places the governor’s private sector policy advisor, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, in a leading role in coordinating job training strategies across the public and private sectors and will provide recommendations on the distribution of the $30 million in PAsmart funding, which will be driven out through a competitive grants process.