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Shapiro Administration Awards Grant Funding to Expand Apprenticeship Opportunities in Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades


Contact: Trevor Monk,

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) today announced grant awards totaling more than $397,000 to support registered pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that help expand job opportunities, build diverse talent, and reach underrepresented populations in the building and construction trades. 

"Registered apprenticeship programs give Pennsylvanians the opportunity to earn competitive wages and advance their careers. To deliver on this promise, L&I is committed to investing in apprenticeship programs that are finding innovative ways to ensure our workforce is representative of the community it serves," L&I Secretary Nancy A. Walker said. "These programs will help alleviate barriers to access, create a talent pipeline that is equipped with the skills needed to be successful in the modern labor market, and ultimately strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusivity within the building and construction trades."

In the 2023-2024 budget, Governor Josh Shapiro secured $23.8 million to build partnerships between career and technical education, as well as in-demand and non-traditional industries that are in critical need of workers – including the building and construction trades.

According to a recent equity snapshot from the U.S. Department of Labor focused on demographic information, women only represented 13% of the completed registered apprenticeships in 2022 and accounted for 15% of new apprentices. Overall, in 2022, women only made up 10.9% of the construction industry. 

To help address this deficit, L&I's Increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Building and Construction Trades through Apprenticeships and Pre-Apprenticeships initiative aims to create career pathways for populations underrepresented in the trades, including women, people of color, individuals with disabilities, veterans, socio-economic disadvantaged individuals, individuals who speak English as a second language, individuals who were previously incarcerated, or individuals experiencing multiple barriers to employment.

The following pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs were 100% federally funded with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) statewide activity funds.

Apprentice Training for the Electrical Industry (ATEI) (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia counties) – $115,169
In partnership with the public-school districts in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, ATEI will expand its "Rosie's Girls" pre-apprenticeship program, which is designed to familiarize young women with safety, tools, theoretical basics of electrical and telecommunications installation, jobsite conditions, as well as an introduction to other career paths in the building and construction trades.
EVOLVE (Dauphin County) – $65,000
EVOLVE's Youth Trades Academy engages high school students with career development and skills needed to obtain jobs in carpentry and electrical trades. EVOLVE will also update and expand their existing affirmative action plans and create a strategy that ensures diversity, equity and inclusion in their pre-apprenticeship program. 

I-LEAD, Inc. (Berks County) – $62,255
In partnership with IBEW Local 743, I-LEAD aims to establish an outreach and training program that prepares Latino and African-American candidates to apply for the IBEW's registered apprenticeship program. The program's objective is to enroll up to 25 students in the I-LEAD Registered Apprenticeship Preparation Program and qualify at least eight to successfully complete the IBEW entrance exam and interview process for admission to the registered apprenticeship program.

Steamfitters Local Union No 449 JATC (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Greene, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango, Warren, Washington counties) – $90,000
Steamfitters Local 449 will expand its registered apprenticeship program in the building and construction trades by hiring 25 new apprentices and helping ensure long-term systemic change. Specifically, the program will update Steamfitter Local 449's affirmative action plan and implement a new diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.

The Pittsburgh A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) Education Fund (Allegheny County) – $65,000
APRI plans to enhance its Breaking the Chains of Poverty (BTCP) Career Pathways pre-apprenticeship program. This project is focused on expanding recruitment efforts to create a bigger pipeline of BTCP candidates, improve collaborative efforts with existing partners, and establish new partnerships -- for both placement opportunities with the trades and referrals from organizations whose constituents are traditionally underserved and interested in careers in construction.

The awarded programs will receive grant funding through March 2025.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that, on average, apprentices earn a starting wage of $77,000 per year after graduation and are on track to earn $300,000 more over their careers compared to workers who do not graduate from an apprenticeship program. For every dollar spent on apprenticeships, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity.

Established in 2016, L&I's Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) is responsible for guiding and promoting the expansion and compliance of all registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs across the Commonwealth. The ATO currently supports 877 unduplicated program sponsors and 1,588 occupation-specific registered apprenticeship programs across the Commonwealth, with 16,595 registered apprentices currently active. 

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, please visit the website or follow L&I on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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