Gov. Wolf Touts Value of Apprenticeship Model, Highlights Millions in Investments During Tour of IBEW Local 163

September 15, 2022

During a tour today of IBEW Local 163’s state-of-the-art training facility, Governor Tom Wolf lauded the work of union leaders in expanding their registered apprenticeship program for electrical workers and touted the value of the proven ‘earn-while-you-learn’ model that allows them to earn a paycheck while learning a skilled trade. Local 163 in June was awarded $446,247 through Gov. Wolf’s PAsmart initiative, which aims to increase the number of registered apprenticeship programs in non-traditional industries as well as reach underserved populations like women and people of color.

“While apprenticeships have a strong track record of success in advancing the careers of workers, they have traditionally lagged behind in serving underrepresented populations and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Gov. Wolf. “On average, apprentices earn a starting wage of $70,000 per year after graduation, putting them on track to earn $300,000 more over their careers compared to workers who don’t graduate from an apprenticeship program. I truly believe Pennsylvanians are the hardest workers around, and they deserve fair, equitable access to high-quality jobs, family-sustaining wages, and the support that will allow them to thrive in their career.”

Gov. Wolf’s PAsmart framework designed to better align education, workforce and economic development initiatives and funding. With this funding, IBEW Local 163 will serve a total of 96 individuals through its five-year apprenticeship program, 40 of whom will be from underrepresented populations across Bradford, Luzerne, Sullivan and Wyoming Counties.

“IBEW Local 163 JATC is excited to partner with the PAsmart registered apprenticeships program,” said Local 163’s training director, John Nadolny. “With the help of Governor Wolf and the Apprenticeship & Training Office, it is now possible to expand our program by reaching out to underserved populations, minorities, women and veterans. This outreach will provide excellent opportunities for new apprentices to earn while they learn. After completion of the apprenticeship, graduates will have marketable skills as electricians in this high demand field, earn family-sustaining wages and receive college credit. We are thankful for this opportunity to help those interested in learning a skilled trade.”

Earlier this week, Gov. Wolf was in Washington, D.C. with President Joe Biden and IBEW members to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act, which will make historic investments to lower prescription drug costs, health care costs, and energy costs for Americans.

Since 2018, Gov. Wolf has invested more than $35 million in registered apprenticeship programs through the Apprenticeship & Training Office (ATO) – housed within the Department of Labor & Industry – to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce. In this year’s budget alone, Gov. Wolf helped to secure a total of $7.5 million in funding for apprenticeship training, a $500,000 increase over the prior year’s budget. This continues the governor’s fulfillment of his promise to create good jobs that pay well when he first took office in 2015.   


The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 163 teaches apprentices the electrical trade while earning a living for themselves and their families. Additionally, they receive excellent health insurance and retirement benefits, providing a total overall package better than that offered by most non-union electrical contractors.

Apprenticeship is a great form of education, which allows a pathway to living a middle-class lifestyle. Apprentices learn the tricks of the trade from skilled and experienced journeymen, who not only teach the apprentices how to perform their work, but show them how to work efficiently, completing quality work on time and doing it right the first time.

Outside of learning on-the-job, apprentices also receive mandatory classroom instruction, which is held at the state-of-the-art IBEW Local 163 JATC training facility. The classes are led by accredited professionals, who have spent years in the trade and are now dedicated to preparing the next generation of IBEW members.

Gov. Wolf has served for two terms as a leader consistently at work for the people of Pennsylvania. Learn more about how his Priorities for Pennsylvania have fueled the commonwealth’s comeback, leaving Pennsylvania in a much better place than when he arrived.

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