Gov. Wolf Announces Innovative Apprenticeships in Early Education, Addiction Counseling, and Health Care

November 08, 2019

Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined workers, employers and leaders of the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund to announce state approval of five innovative apprenticeships that are helping workers to build careers in early childhood development, addiction counseling and as advanced medical assistants.

“Apprenticeships have expanded beyond the traditional trades to careers in early education, health care and many more,” said Governor Wolf. “The apprenticeships create new and exciting opportunities to create training programs so workers can earn a paycheck while they learn, which creates a stronger workforce in Pennsylvania.”

The District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund developed the five apprenticeships that are now registered with the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I). Three apprenticeships in early childhood development bring together multiple employers to create a first-of-its-kind training approach in the Philadelphia area to provide a pathway for workers to get their first technical credential up to a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification.

The new apprenticeships include Direct Support Professionals, a first step in a career with classes at Thomas Jefferson University, and Child Development Specialists, with nine people attending Shippensburg University and working at First Start Partnerships for Children & Families, a Head Start in Franklin County. The third apprenticeship is for Early Childhood Pre-K Teachers, with nearly 80 apprentices working at dozens of employers and taking classes at Arcadia University, Community College of Philadelphia and Delaware County Community College.

“Apprenticeships are a win-win for employers and apprentices,” said Cheryl Feldman, executive director of the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund. “They provide employers with skilled staff trained in work-based competencies through classroom and on the job learning at the workplace and provide apprentices with paid employment while working toward portable credentials.

“As a workforce intermediary, the Training Fund strives to create multiemployer apprenticeship programs that serve the needs of healthcare, human services, and early childhood, providing a successful strategy that helps to address critical labor shortages. We are thankful to Governor Wolf for his leadership in supporting the creation and expansion of apprenticeships in non-traditional industries.”

Expanding job training is a priority for the Wolf administration, which provided more than $500,000 to support the apprenticeships.

“We have been thrilled with our participation in the Apprenticeship Project,” said Deb Green, director of the Parent Infant Center, which hosted today’s event. “Teachers are getting college credit for their experience in the field and are succeeding in their college coursework because of the additional supports that the project provides.

“Their increased knowledge about best practices in the field of early childhood education so clearly impacts their classrooms and benefits the experiences of so many young children. It has been a win-win experience for everyone.”

L&I also registered apprenticeships for addiction counselors and advanced medical assistants, both sponsored by the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund. Apprentices who complete a registered apprenticeship earn nationally recognized credentials. Employers registering apprenticeships with L&I receive guidance, helpful contacts and access to grants and funding.

Apprenticeships are part of the governor’s groundbreaking PAsmart initiative to create the strongest workforce in the nation. The governor secured $70 million for PAsmart over two years, including $40 million for science and technology education and $30 million for apprenticeships and job training programs.

The Wolf Administration created the Apprenticeship and Training Office within L&I in 2016. The office has registered 156 new program sponsors and 223 new apprenticeship programs or occupations, bringing the total number of registered apprentices to 18,187 statewide.

Governor Wolf has set a goal of increasing the number of workers with training after high school from 47 percent to 60 percent by 2025.

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