Gov. Wolf: PAsmart is Creating the Skilled Workforce that Businesses Need

July 09, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – After delivering on his bold budget plan to invest in education and job training for Pennsylvania workers, Governor Tom Wolf today visited Phoenix Contact USA near Harrisburg to highlight how his PAsmart initiative is expanding apprenticeships and other job training opportunities.

“PAsmart is investing in training people to have the skills and experience that growing businesses need to thrive,” said Governor Wolf. “By closing the training gap, we can ensure workers can compete for good, well-paying jobs and every employer can find the talented people it needs to succeed and grow our economy.”

The governor launched the innovative PAsmart initiative last year and secured a $10 million increase to $40 million for the program this year. PAsmart provides $20 million for science and technology education, $10 million for apprenticeships and job training, and new this year, an additional $10 million for career and technical education.

“Pennsylvania businesses are hiring, but they can’t find enough skilled workers for all of the open jobs,” said Governor Wolf. “PAsmart recognizes that a four-year college isn’t for everyone, but people need the job training that apprenticeships and career and technical education provide.”

In the first year of PAsmart, the Department of Labor & Industry awarded grants to more than 100 pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs serving over 2,600 workers. Apprenticeships give workers the opportunity to earn a paycheck while learning and gaining on-the-job training with an employer.

Apprenticeship opportunities are available in traditional industries such as welding, machining, carpentry and plumbing, as well as non-traditional industries, including mental health services, human services, early childhood education, scientific research, and information technology.

“Data is showing that the path to prosperity for the next generation of students no longer runs exclusively through a four-year college,” said Eric D. Palmer, executive director of the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center. “Graduates earning industry certifications, who have combined their technical skills with rigorous and challenging academic accomplishments, will form the foundation of our state’s rapidly evolving economy. “

PAsmart also invests in Pennsylvania’s nationally leading Next Generation Industry Partnerships, which create collaboration among businesses to improve the training for their workforce.

Other workforce development accomplishments under Governor Wolf include:
• Increasing the number of apprentices in Pennsylvania to 16,682;
• Increasing the number of career and technical education (CTE) students earning industry-recognized credentials by 34.2 percent;
• Increasing the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs by 27.2 percent;
• Advancing Pennsylvania to third in the nation in the number of nationally recognized STEM ecosystems and making the commonwealth the fifth largest producer of STEM graduates;
• Approving more than $4 million in funding through the new Manufacturing PA initiative for nine new training programs across Pennsylvania to give more than 340 job seekers the skills they need to secure a stable, high-paying job in manufacturing.

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.

At Phoenix Contact USA, the governor met several apprentices while touring the manufacturing and logistics sections of the company’s Dauphin County facility.

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