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Labor & Industry Celebrates Graduates of Apprenticeship Program Preparing Workers for Careers in Precision Manufacturing

07/21/2022

Natrona Heights, PA – The director of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry's (L&I) Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO), Tara Loew, today joined Oberg Industries to celebrate 45 recent graduates of the manufacturing company's apprenticeship program, which provides in-demand skills training for Pennsylvanians interested in precision manufacturing careers.

"Manufacturing and supply chain operations are key elements to how thousands of businesses are able to provide products and services to consumers across the commonwealth and the country," Loew said. "We are proud of Oberg's commitment to registered apprenticeships as a successful and viable workforce development model in southwestern Pennsylvania, furthering economic growth in this region while also providing transferrable skills for apprentices to supplement their careers."

At today's ceremony, Loew joined Oberg's CEO, Rich Bartek, in celebrating the graduates' accomplishments and presented them with a certificate acknowledging their completion of the registered apprenticeship program.

"Oberg's apprentice program has been a key component of the company's growth for more than 50 years," said Bartek.  "It offers a fantastic opportunity for students to build a high-paying career in the metalworking industry while giving them the fundamental education and confidence needed to succeed in their field, all without the burden of college debt. The investment in our apprentices shows our customers that we're committed to consistent quality and that we provide a scalable workforce to meet their needs."

ABOUT OBERG
Oberg Industries is a global contract manufacturer producing precision machined and stamped metal components, tooling and assemblies to customers in the aerospace, consumer/industrial, energy, medical, and metal packaging markets, including Fortune 500 companies, worldwide.

Created in the 1950s as an in-house solution to build a stream of highly-skilled workers needed to grow the company, Oberg formally established its state registered apprentice training program in 1971.  It became the primary resource for expanding the company's workforce, graduating nearly 500 employees over its lifetime.  The current earn-while-you-learn program integrates hands-on training by industry mentors and accredited classroom instruction, along with merit pay, benefits and bonus incentives, to graduate apprentices with industry-recognized credientials and jouneyworker certifications.
 
APPRENTICESHIPS UNDER THE WOLF ADMINISTRATION
Established in 2016, the ATO supports and expands registered pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs statewide. As one part of Governor Tom Wolf's PAsmart framework, the office provides outreach, education, and technical support to current and prospective program sponsors and apprentices. The ATO aims to expand the apprenticeship model to non-traditional occupations and ensure opportunities are available to under-represented and underserved communities across Pennsylvania. The ATO currently supports more than 17,000 active apprentices, nearly 5,000 new apprentices, and more than 1,580 active occupation-specific apprenticeship programs around the commonwealth. 

The Wolf Administration has directly invested more than $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.

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 over their careers compared to workers who don't graduate from an apprenticeship program. For every dollar spent on apprenticeships, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity.
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Alex Peterson, dlipress@pa.gov

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