Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced his administration's success in securing a $3.9 million grant from the federal Department of Labor (DOL) to build and modernize Pennsylvania's registered apprenticeship system.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) through the Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) is one of 30 recipients nationwide awarded grant funding through DOL's Apprenticeship Building America program.
"This funding is needed now more than ever, as Pennsylvania's economy continues to recover from pandemic-related challenges, including the need to train and onboard workers in critical supply-chain industries and among populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic," Gov. Wolf said. "Apprenticeship plays an integral role in turning these many challenges into an opportunity to create a more dynamic, resilient workforce. My administration remains committed to ensuring all Pennsylvanians, regardless of background, have equitable access to opportunities that provide reliable, family-sustaining career pathways."
With the grant funding, the ATO plans to expand diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to apprenticeship programs among underrepresented communities, embed a focus on apprenticeship within the commonwealth's workforce system, and enhance apprenticeship-related expertise among local workforce development board and PA CareerLink® staff. The ATO will assist local workforce areas across the commonwealth with creating strategic plans to expand registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in their regions. The ATO will also offer training webinars that highlight how and why to connect job seekers to the model and how to leverage Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds to support apprentices.
Additionally, the grant will provide strategic funding to incentivize registered apprenticeship and registered pre-apprenticeship program growth and offer supportive services to apprentices, focusing on diversifying apprenticeship program designs and talent pipelines, with an emphasis on non-traditional industries and industries with critical supply chains, including logistics, warehouse, manufacturing, and transportation, as well as clean energy, public service, healthcare, childcare, construction, and technology.
"Pennsylvania workers are looking for jobs that offer family-sustaining wages and opportunities for growth. Apprenticeship is the workforce development model that connects these talented workers with employers who are eager to invest in skills development – which sets up a business for long-term success, especially in this highly competitive labor market. Apprenticeship is a win-win for the worker and the employer, and it strengthens Pennsylvania's economy overall," L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier said.
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.
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 remain at the employer who trained them at completion of their apprenticeship. For every dollar spent on apprenticeships, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity.
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