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Labor & Industry Secretary Highlights Pittsburgh Apprenticeship Program Preparing Pennsylvanians for IT Careers

06/15/2022

Pittsburgh, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier visited a Pittsburgh-based apprenticeship program Monday June 13 that provides in-demand skills training for Pennsylvanians interested in IT careers.

Fortyx80 is a registered apprenticeship program that allows individuals to gain job-related skills in an learn-while-you-earn environment, enabling apprentices to gain nationally recognized credentials to aid them in their careers while strengthening the commonwealth's workforce.

"Advances in technology can shift the needs of entire industries. Apprenticeship programs, like Fortyx80's, gives apprentices the opportunity to earn while they learn and move directly into the workforce upon completion," Berrier said. "Providing an alternate education system that adapts to economic changes will support public and private sector innovation as STEM needs grow in western Pennsylvania and across the commonwealth."

Fortyx80, the nonprofit branch of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, was founded in 2014 to provide opportunities for non-traditional job seekers to acquire the skills needed to enter the IT field. Regional companies support Fortyx80's initiative through workforce development and STEM educational opportunities for underrepresented groups, with subsidies from foundations, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, Educational Improvement Tax Credits, and the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

The software analyst apprenticeship requires 2,480 program hours, with an expected 25 students during the first year of enrollment. Apprentices learn the foundations of software development and coding languages through on-the-job training and receive industry certifications upon completion of the program.

APPRENTICESHIPS UNDER THE WOLF ADMINISTRATION

Established in 2016, L&I's Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) supports and expands registered apprenticeship programs statewide. As a part of Governor Tom Wolf's PAsmart framework, the office provides outreach, education, and technical support to current and prospective apprenticeship program sponsors and apprentices. The ATO aims to expand the apprenticeship model to non-traditional occupations and ensure apprenticeship opportunities are available to under-represented communities across the commonwealth. The ATO currently supports more than 17,000 active apprentices, nearly 5,000 new apprentices, and more than 1,500 active occupation-specific apprenticeship programs around the commonwealth. 

The Wolf Administration has directly invested $28 million in Pennsylvania apprenticeship programs since 2018, focused on increasing academic training in computer sciences, science, technology, engineering, and math education to strengthen Pennsylvania's workforce. The latest round of grant funding supports apprenticeship programs with a specific focus on diverse talent pipelines and underserved populations, non-traditional occupations, and alignment with secondary and post-secondary educational institutions for occupations in agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, IT, education, human services, building trades and more. Governor Wolf's 2022-23 budget proposal includes an additional $7 million investment for apprenticeships.

L&I estimates that, on average, apprentices earn a starting wage of $70,000 per year after graduation and are on track to earn $300,000 more than other workers over their careers. Nearly nine out of 10 apprentices are employed after completing their apprenticeship. For every dollar spent on apprenticeships, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity.

For more information, you can visit www.dli.pa.gov, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

MEDIA CONTACT: Alex Peterson, dlipress@pa.gov

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