Wolf Administration Announces Details of Pennsylvania’s New Apprenticeship Program

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Deputy Secretary Carol Kilko joined Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary Eileen Cipriani and Hanover Chamber President Gary Laird in the Capitol Media Center to unveil the components of Governor Tom Wolf’s new pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program. The new program, housed at DCED, will enable more Pennsylvania employers to develop the specialized training their workers need to close skills gaps in the workplace, while also providing rewarding career pathways for students and adults.

“This new program is exciting for a number of reasons, but first and foremost, because it represents opportunity,” Deputy Secretary Kilko said. “This is an employer-driven model that enables employers to provide classroom training necessary for their particular talent needs. Our goal is to assist employers by providing the funding to assist with their talent recruitment and development of employee training.”

DCED is currently accepting grant proposals from apprenticeship sponsors such as single employers, employer consortiums, workforce development boards, economic development organizations, labor organization, career tech schools, Pennsylvania community colleges, and community organizations. DCED has identified $2.3 million for the start of the program, and the grants will be issued on an ongoing basis as long as funds are available. Eligible apprenticeships must be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO).

“The Wolf Administration supports the growth and expansion of apprenticeship programs as a way to develop a pool of qualified talent for employers and to provide employees with valuable on-the-job training that leads to family-sustaining jobs,” said Deputy Secretary Cipriani. “These apprenticeship grants foster the development of new apprenticeship training programs and redirect state dollars to meet the most urgent regional employment needs.”

Grants can be used to complement hourly salaries of in-house instructors for training that supports on-the-job training, costs of books and training materials, contracted professional services directly related to academic competency, and other expenses deemed eligible by DCED.

The new apprenticeship program will be funded through money that has been “clawed back” from businesses and organizations that have received state support and failed to meet the state requirements of the contract, whether it be based on job numbers, capital investment figures, or additional requirements outlined in the program guidelines. Governor Wolf has proposed tightening clawback provisions by:

  • Strengthening jobs requirements for a company receiving state funds: First, if a company commits to create jobs in Pennsylvania, and fails to make progress toward creating those jobs, the state will require full repayment of the grant amount. Second, DCED will increase the weight of job creation in the monitoring scoring matrix of program applications.
  • Enhancing enforcement when a company receives state assistance and subsequently leaves the state: If a company receives a grant from the state and subsequently moves operations out of Pennsylvania, the state will require full repayment of the grant, as well as a 10 percent penalty.
  • Extending operational presence requirements: Companies that receive state economic development grants will be required to maintain any job created for no less than five years after the grant was received. In addition, companies will be required to maintain operations within the commonwealth for no less than eight years.

Since its establishment in early 2016, the ATO, which is responsible for providing outreach, education, and technical support to current and prospective apprenticeship program sponsors and apprentices, has added 2,610 new apprentices and 81 new registered apprenticeship occupations, bringing the total number of registered programs to 750 and the total number of registered apprentices to 15,201 statewide.

To learn more about the Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Grant Program or to apply for a grant, visit the DCED website. To register an apprenticeship program with the ATO, go to the Labor and Industry website. And, be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132
Theresa Elliott, L&I, 717.787.7530 or dlipress@pa.gov

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