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L&I Shows Benefits of ‘Back to Work PA,’ Announces New Robotics Apprenticeship Program in York County


York, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Sheila Ireland today highlighted the important role Gov. Tom Wolf's Back to Work PA initiative would have in preparing the commonwealth's workforce for in-demand careers during a visit to the Manufacturers' Association to announce a new industrial automation robotics technician apprenticeship program, speak with apprentices and observe a demonstration of robotics.

"Registered apprenticeships let workers earn a living as they complete their education and obtain valuable job skills," said Deputy Secretary Ireland. "The new industrial automation robotics technician apprenticeship will place Pennsylvanians on a solid career path and provide employers with a pipeline of highly skilled employees. This program is a great example of how Gov. Wolf's Back to Work PA plan would make smart investments to build brighter futures for Pennsylvania workers and their families."

L&I's Apprenticeship Training Office (ATO) recently approved the industrial automation robotics technician apprenticeship program with the Manufacturers' Association in York to develop journey workers who can safely build, operate, and repair robotic equipment and automated production systems. Robotic programming skills and troubleshooting will be emphasized in the program, as well as the ability to assist engineers in the design and application of robotic systems.

"Through this support, the Manufacturers' Association built a first in the state, four-year robotics apprenticeship in response to employer needs to develop the knowledge-based careers of the future," said Manufacturers' Association Executive Director Tom Palisin. "These high-tech, high-skilled apprenticeships are a cornerstone of the Association's new Regional Center of Excellence for Apprenticeship and Training that will grow the regional economy."

Apprenticeship programs are used to provide employer-driven training to create a more productive, diverse, highly skilled workforce for employers and help reduce employee turnover. The program provides job seekers with increased skills, and a nationally recognized credential to support future career advancement and increased wages.

Since the ATO was created in early 2016, the office has assisted in creating 352 registered apprenticeship programs, occupation or trade additions. The ATO also supports 892 individual program sponsors and 1,504 registered apprenticeship programs, occupation or trade additions across the commonwealth, as well as the 17,797 active registered apprentices. 

Gov. Wolf has made strengthening Pennsylvania's workforce a priority. His Back to Work PA plan tackles numerous barriers to employment identified by the bipartisan Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center, including the lack of workforce development and available training Pennsylvanians need for high-demand, good-paying careers. As a businessman, Gov. Wolf understands that businesses succeed when they have quality, well-trained workers.

The Wolf Administration plans to reinvest $3 billion garnered through a tax on natural gas extraction back into Pennsylvania's businesses through robust workforce development programs as part of Back to Work PA. The proposed severance tax would set the commonwealth up for the economic growth other natural gas-producing states have experienced through their reinvestment of natural gas wealth into infrastructure, educational systems, and lower taxes. 

For more information, visit the L&I website and follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Click here for the latest L&I news.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah DeSantis or

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