Governor Wolf: Apprenticeships, Job Training Expanding with PAsmart Initiative

July 12, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined local officials and workers at the IBEW Local 5 and Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association Apprenticeship Training Center in Pittsburgh today to announce a $10 million investment in apprenticeships and other job training opportunities for Pennsylvania workers and the economy through his PAsmart initiative.

“Apprenticeships transform lives,” said Governor Wolf. “With apprenticeships, people can provide for their families by earning a good living and learning a skill. We need more apprentices to enhance our well-educated and talented workforce and attract more industry to Pennsylvania.”

The governor’s PAsmart initiative is a new and innovative $30 million investment in job training to focused on fast-growing, in-demand jobs. The initiative is built on recommendations of the governor’s Middle Class Task Force, which included leaders from f the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, education, and workforce development.

“Growing Pennsylvania jobs is among the most important things we can do for our citizens,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “This initiative will allow Pennsylvanians to pursue education and job training relevant to today’s economy, which, here in Pittsburgh, is evolving in new and exciting ways every day.”

“After the experience and lesson learned of losing the steel industry in Western Pennsylvania, the people are extremely aware of the need and opportunity for job training,” said Rep. Harry Readshaw. “Individuals must be prepared for diversified employment and excited about their future. Job training is the foundation for success.”

PAsmart is a $30 million investment in workforce development, including:

  • $7 million for 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 15,972 statewide.
  • $3 million increase for Industry Partnerships which bring together workers and multiple employers in the same industry in a public-private partnership to provide job training.
  • $20 million for STEM and computer science education at all levels. Nearly 300,000 jobs in the commonwealth require skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Over the next decade, more than 70 percent of new jobs will require these skills.

“PAsmart funding for pre-apprenticeship programs will improve opportunities and enhance employability of youth participants,” said L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “These programs help to create a pipeline of qualified individuals who have been trained in the specific skills employers need, by establishing a connection to an existing apprenticeship program and delivering both hands-on and instructional-based learning.”

Apprenticeship programs are often sought by businesses to provide employees with industry-driven training to create a more productive, diverse, highly-skilled workforce and reduce employee turnover. In turn, workers and job seekers gain increased skills, and nationally recognized credentials to support future career advancement and increased wages.

Yesterday, the governor signed an executive order to cut red tape and improve coordination between several state agencies to more effectively deliver workforce development services to Pennsylvanians. The executive order places the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board (PA WDB), the governor’s private sector policy advisor, in a leading role to coordinate job training strategies.

The PA WDB will provide recommendations on the distribution of the $30 million in PAsmart funding, which will be driven out through a competitive grants process. Organizations that will be eligible to apply include: local education agencies; intermediate units; postsecondary institutions; local workforce development boards; public libraries; employers; labor organizations; chambers of commerce; after-school providers; education, training and workforce providers; nonprofits; community organizations, and others.

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