Governor Wolf Announces Increased Training Opportunities for Careers in Demand in Western Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf announced the approval of two apprenticeship grants to assist with classroom training for 60 apprentices in Western Pennsylvania, enabling the recipients to strengthen and expand their apprenticeship programs. The funding, granted to Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #12 and Steamfitters Local Union 449 in Pittsburgh, will build on the governor’s commitment to expanding job training opportunities for Pennsylvanians.

“The more we can support apprenticeship programs across the commonwealth, the stronger our workforce becomes,” Governor Wolf said. “These two grants will help Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #12 and Steamfitter/Pipefitter Local Union 449 with the costs associated with expensive classroom training for 60 apprentices for positions like design, machining, and welding. It’s a win-win for both workers and companies in the region.”

The first grant, approved for the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #12 in Pittsburgh for $297,000 over three years, will support the cross-training of 30 apprentices to work on many different types of projects. The Local Union #12 works with shop designing and manufacturing metal products, and also works with commercial industrial sites. These family-sustaining wage positions are in great demand, particularly in this region of the state. Apprentices will complete 1,000 hours of classroom learning over five years. Apprentices also can take further elective work to obtain additional certifications.

The second grant, approved for the Steamfitters Local Union 449 in Pittsburgh for $297,000 over three years, will support continued and additional training in advanced welding for 30 apprentices. With the construction of the Shell cracker plant in Beaver County and the growth of the petrochemical industry, the region is seeing a heightened demand for pipe welders. With the grant, Steamfitter LU449 will ramp up their apprenticeship opportunities and offer training during the daytime, evening, and weekend in welding and rigging.

Apprenticeship programs provide access to career pathways and enable apprentices to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to compete in today’s economy. Classroom training is a required component of registered apprenticeship programs across Pennsylvania, and complements traditional on-the-job training. The technical material taught in a classroom environment enables apprentices to learn fundamental concepts, terminology, procedures, safety requirements, and basic tools and instruments.

Apprenticeships are a key component of Governor Wolf’s PAsmart proposal designed to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce. As part of the governor’s 2018-2019 budget proposal, PAsmart would improve coordination across commonwealth agencies and invest $50 million to improve access for Pennsylvania students and workers to education, training, and career readiness programs. That investment includes an additional $7 million to support apprenticeships, with the goal of doubling the number of registered apprentices in Pennsylvania by 2025. Working collaboratively with the business community, community colleges, and other higher education providers, funds will support youth pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship experiences as well as adult apprenticeship programs at the postsecondary level.

PAsmart would also build on the Wolf Administration’s Apprenticeship Training Office (ATO) which the administration established in 2016 to support and expand registered apprenticeship programs statewide. Since the ATO was created in early 2016, the office has registered 107 new sponsors and 149 new apprenticeship programs or occupations, bringing the total number of registered apprentices to 15,476 statewide.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to workforce development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
J.J. Abbott, Governor’s Office, 717.783.1116
Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132

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