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02/06/2020

L&I Secretary Tours A. Phillip Randolph Institute’s Construction and Building Trades Training Program for Individuals with Employment Barriers

Pittsburgh, PA – Graduates of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI) led Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak on a tour of a hands-on construction and building trades job training program in Pittsburgh today. The program was partially funded with a $252,000 grant previously awarded by the Wolf administration to prepare, train and place 50 low-income, primarily African-American, individuals in entry-level jobs in the construction and building trades.

"The Wolf Administration is focused on increasing employment opportunities across Pennsylvania, particularly for individuals with barriers to employment," said Secretary Oleksiak. "APRI's training program is a great example of the innovative training investments that Governor Wolf supports to help people gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed."

The training program focuses on key topics in building and construction industries, and graduates receive multiple certifications recognized by employers. Funds from the Strategic Innovation Grant allowed APRI to register an additional 350 individuals for the training program. Almost 50 graduates were placed with full time permanent career opportunities, with benefits and health care, and a $15.50+/hour starting wage.

Individuals are trained at construction and building trades training centers in the Pittsburgh area. Trainees participate in five on-site visits during the course of the program. On the tour of the APRI headquarters, Secretary Oleksiak viewed a new cohort of students participating in a financial literacy module, learning about budgeting, improving credit, and avoiding predator lending.

"We believe that assisting individuals from underserved, underrepresented communities build the skills to necessary to obtain family sustaining careers in the building and construction trades, manufacturing and emerging energy sector generates hope, opportunity and transformation in those communities," said Dewitt Walton, Program Director, A. Phillip Randolph Institute. "The assistance we received from the Department of Labor & Industry via the Strategic Innovation grant has helped us to advance this mission by increasing our organizations capacity to serve more people."

The A. Phillip Randolph Institute's program was one of 16 projects that received a total of $3.5 million in Strategic Innovation grants from L&I. The grants are awarded through Local Workforce Development Boards. Partner4Work in Pittsburgh partnered with APRI to administer this grant.

Investing in science and technology education is a priority for Governor Wolf. In addition to Strategic Innovation Grants, Governor Wolf's nationally-leading workforce development initiative, PAsmart, is investing in skills training and apprenticeships to prepare Pennsylvanians for fast growing careers, as well as science and technology education for schools across Pennsylvania.
MEDIA CONTACTS:  Penny Ickes or Lindsay Bracale, 717-787-7530

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