Pennsylvania has partnered with NuPaths to provide information technology (IT) internships and apprenticeships at state agencies.
The Shapiro Administration said Wednesday the program is for high school graduates, veterans, and those in career-transition and will bolster the state’s IT workforce as Gov. Josh Shapiro looks to make digital services more accessible.
“As one of the largest employers in Pennsylvania, we have an incredible opportunity to be a leader in supporting Gov. Shapiro’s vision for the Commonwealth’s schools, workforce, and economy,” said Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver, whose office is responsible for recruitment and hiring for state agencies. “We are excited to partner with NuPaths to provide hands-on experience to prepare these students for careers in the tech industry and help meet our workforce needs.”
Through the partnership, students in NuPaths’ Associate Website Developer and Digital Marketing Assistant programs can participate in paid internships with digital communications teams in state agencies to gain relevant experience in their field of study.
Interns may write code, troubleshoot technical issues, update and maintain agency websites, draft and post social media content, design graphics, and assist web services and digital teams with overall content strategy, the administration said.
The Office of Administration (OA) has established an IT apprenticeship, during which apprentices will participate in NuPaths’ Technical Support Specialist program.
This work-based learning program offers accelerated learning through classroom training, mentoring, and by partnering apprentices with experts in the field, Shapiro’s office said. Apprentices who successfully complete their one year-apprenticeship will be offered a full-time Help Desk Technician position at OA.
“This new initiative demonstrates the important role that partnerships and collaboration play in creating opportunities for learners,” said Acting Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “The Shapiro Administration is committed to giving students the freedom to chart their own course, and this internship program will provide the hands-on, real-world experiences that lead to fulfilling careers.”
IEC Pennsylvania, the state chapter of Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), is accepting applications for its next electrical apprenticeship class.
Harrisburg-based IEC announced it will accept applications May 24 through June 2 for the class which starts in late August.
The apprenticeship program covers residential, commercial and industrial construction and electrical wiring. Individuals accepted into the four-year program work full-time as apprentices for electrical contractors and attend employer-paid instructional classes in-person and online, IEC Pennsylvania said.
The program is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor and Pennsylvania Apprenticeship and Training Council.
IEC Pennsylvania said the job outlook for electricians is strong, as more electricians are retiring than entering the field.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, about 79,900 openings for electricians are projected each year on average through 2031.
The median annual wage for electricians in Pennsylvania was $73,540 as of May 2022, which is an hourly wage of over $35 not including benefits. This represents a 7.1 % increase over the median annual wage one year ago.
“Demand for electricians is growing and choosing to become an electrician provides excellent earning potential,” said IEC Pennsylvania Executive Director Marissa Bankert. “If you are interested in starting a career as an electrician, or are considering a career change, apprenticeship is a path that offers on-the-job training and enables you to earn a wage while you learn.”
Applicants for IEC Pennsylvania’s apprenticeship program must be age 17 or over and have a high school diploma or their GED.
IEC Pennsylvania also offers a state-registered pre-apprenticeship program for high school students and individuals who are interested in the electrical field. Pre-apprentices gain hands-on experience in the field and opportunities to shadow electricians as they prepare for the apprenticeship program.
Three apprenticeship programs in central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley are among 14 awarded grants totaling $4.9 million, Gov. Tom Wolf said.
“Throughout history, apprenticeships have been a vital part of career education in certain fields,” Wolf said. “Through these important grants, we are offering more Pennsylvania workers opportunities to train for family-sustaining jobs while helping businesses develop a workforce that will strengthen our economy and the communities most in need.”
Each of the 14 potential or currently registered apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship programs will use this grant funding to develop diverse talent pipelines, reach underrepresented populations, and expand workforce development opportunities in the building and construction trades across 55 counties.
The local grants were awarded to:
Berks Connections Pretrial Services, $290,370, to expand and enhance Rebuilding Reentrants and Reading (R3), a registered pre-apprenticeship program in the construction trades that exclusively serves reentrants. The project will broaden the scope of R3 to include a welding component and a woodworking skills component. This program will serve a diverse and traditionally underserved population.
Insulators Local 23 Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, covering Adams, Berks, Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Mifflin, Northampton, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder and York counties, $264,981, to grow their registered apprenticeship training program and work toward establishing a pre-apprenticeship program.
TLC Work-Based Training Program, Inc., Dauphin County, $400,000, to continue offering practical learning for the in-demand construction trade acting as a community-based collaborative problem-solving model to address poverty and joblessness. TLC-WBT currently provides apprenticeship opportunities as well as a paid construction training program for people ages 17-25 to benefit veterans, ex-offenders, hard-to-place individuals, at-risk youth, and low- and moderate-income people.
“Apprenticeship offers workers the opportunity to advance their careers while earning a paycheck, and it empowers employers to develop the specific skills they need among their employees to be successful in a dynamic economy. We need to make sure this workforce development model is accessible to workers of all backgrounds,” Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier said.
“Giving all Pennsylvanians the opportunity to earn wages while learning in-demand skills is a major step toward achieving diversity, equity and inclusion among the commonwealth’s workforce,” she said.
The grants, offered through L&I’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO), are part of Governor Wolf’s PA Statewide Movement for Accountability, Readiness and Training (PAsmart) framework, created to better align education, workforce and economic development initiatives and funding.
The U.S. Department of Labor, as part of its Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative, announced the selection of the initial cohort of 207 officials and organizations chosen to serve as Apprenticeship Ambassadors.
The ambassadors will share their experiences and collaborate with the department to champion apprenticeship opportunities, the department said.
In November 2021, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative to bring together industry, labor, education, equity and workforce leaders to partner with the department’s Office of Apprenticeship to promote Registered Apprenticeships as a valuable workforce strategy in high-demand industries to develop and expand opportunities for people historically underserved.
The inaugural group of Apprenticeship Ambassadors consists of diverse partners from multiple industries who have demonstrated a willingness to use their Registered Apprenticeship experience and expertise to promote and expand these programs across all industries.
The cohort is comprised of community-based organizations, educators, employers, industry associations, labor organizations, workforce partners, equity partners and state organizations, the department said.
The ambassadors have committed to hosting 3,367 outreach and recruitment activities, 892 training session and 717 promotional meetings. They have also pledged to develop 460 new Registered Apprenticeship programs and 387 resources in their first year as ambassadors.
The department’s Office of Apprenticeship will collaborate with Apprenticeship Ambassadors to promote Registered Apprenticeship as part of the department’s commemoration of the 85th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act on Aug. 16. The commemoration will continue through the remainder of the year, and include National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 14-20.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry was awarded $3.9 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to strengthen and modernize Registered Apprenticeship programs.
The award is part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s $121 million in Apprenticeship Building Americagrants to enable workers to find reliable pathway to the middle class, the department said in a press release.
The department awarded more than $58 million of the total funding to grantees focusing on equity partnerships and pre-apprenticeship activities.
“The funding of $121.7 million in Apprenticeship Building America grants reaffirms and advances the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to strengthening and expanding Registered Apprenticeships,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.
“The Apprenticeship Building America grants will develop new pathways to good-quality jobs and provide America’s workers with opportunities to access and succeed in those pathways; and the intentional focus on equity partnerships and pre-apprenticeship activities will create opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities,” he said.
The Apprenticeship Building America grant program advances the department’s efforts to expand and modernize Registered Apprenticeship by increasing the number of programs and apprentices, diversifying the industries that use Registered Apprenticeship and improving the access to and performance of Registered Apprenticeship Programs for underrepresented and underserved communities.
The 30 recipients of the Apprenticeship Building America grants will incorporate cross-cutting principles to ensure access to quality Registered Apprenticeship Programs including equity, job quality, sustainability, evidence-based approaches and new opportunities for innovation, engagement and ease of access.
Apprenticeship programs are growing across the state to help students earn while they learn and provide employers with a stream of workers they need.
Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced awards totaling more than $11 million for 26 apprenticeship programs for occupations in agriculture, manufacturing, health care, IT, education, human services, building trades and more.
“Apprenticeships have been around since the early 1960s,” said David Sload, president and CEO, American Builders and Contractors (ABC), Keystone Chapter. “It’s been the best kept secret out there for more than 40 years.”
The federal government, he said, is channeling money to the states so, therefore; the states are now pushing the programs.
“People traditionally think of the construction trades when they think of apprenticeships, but now we are seeing new programs like culinary arts and the health industry. It’s really growing in all sectors,” Sload said.
“Throughout history, apprenticeships have been a vital and necessary part of career education in certain fields,” Wolf said. “By expanding these important programs to more occupations and industries, we are offering Pennsylvania workers opportunities to train for family-sustaining jobs while helping businesses develop a workforce that will strengthen our economy and our communities.”
The reality, Sload said, is college is not for everyone. “There are career pathways out there that encompass the whole economic landscape.”
While Sload acknowledged there is a need for college, he said apprentices can make $42,000-$48,000 a year with zero debt when they complete the course. And they are ready to work because the training is complete.
“This gives them a step up the societal ladder where they can buy a car or a house instead of paying off loans,” he said.
Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier said the new funding comes at an important juncture for Pennsylvania’s workers and employers alike.
“Today, workers have the power to demand better pay, better benefits and safer working conditions. Pennsylvania’s economic recovery from the pandemic depends significantly on what we do now to respond to those demands,” Berrier said.
“Workforce development is most successful when community members collaborate to develop practical solutions to collective problems,” she said. “The apprenticeship programs funded through PAsmart are precisely the types of solutions we need to meet this moment.”
“We saw a huge increase in the number of people seeking apprenticeships in 2018-19,” Sload said. “The pandemic hurt the numbers, but they are recovering well.”
Pre-apprenticeship programs are growing too. Sload said schools are more aware of the programs and are offering more career awareness to students. Those students who participate earn credit toward the apprenticeship, he said.
Joe Perpigalia, president and CEO, ABC Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter, which covers Lehigh Valley, said there wasn’t much reward for school counselors to channel students to apprenticeship programs versus college for years. “Now there is much more talk about it,” he said.
“There used to be a stigma around apprenticeships,” he said. “If you didn’t go to college, you looked to the trades. But that isn’t true anymore. We need to teach math and STEM courses because trades require it.”
Sload said the number of companies offering apprenticeships is up 25% from 10 years ago. “They realize that to build a loyal workforce, they have to pay well and offer benefits and a culture that provides a career pathway,” Sload said.app
Mack Trucks, in collaboration with United Auto Workers Local 677, started the Registered Apprenticeship program in 2001 and oversees it through a Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. The facility offers Registered Apprenticeships in four skilled trades: electrical, millwright, layout, and welding. They are also working on adding a fifth occupation.
Thomas Gombos, maintenance manager at Mack Trucks Lehigh Valley Operations, said the program offers the company a way to provide both general skills training and training customized to the facility’s equipment.
“Through customized training, our apprentices build their skill sets working directly with our equipment, enabling them to become very efficient in supporting the Mack Trucks manufacturing facility as they progress through and complete the program,” he said.
The Wolf Administration established the ATO in 2016 to support and expand registered apprenticeship programs statewide. 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, Wolf said.
The ATO currently supports more than 17,000 active apprentices, nearly 5,000 new apprentices and more than 1,500 active apprenticeship programs around the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania is offering $12.5 million in PAsmart grants to support the growth of registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in new industries and occupations for Pennsylvania workers.
“Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships create hands-on learning environments that allow workers to learn important skills while they earn,” said Jennifer Berrier, state Department of Labor and Industry secretary in a press release.
The grants are targeting industries that don’t typically have apprenticeships, such as IT or hospitality, said Sarah DeSantis, spokeswoman for the Department of Labor and Industry.
Created by Governor Tom Wolf, PAsmart is designed to align education, workforce and economic development initiatives and funding. Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships are intended to bring together employers, educational institutions, and workers to create a pipeline of skilled workers who are learning while they earn a wage.
Labor and Industry’s Apprenticeship and Training Office will provide two competitive grant opportunities to expand the apprenticeship model to include both traditional and non-traditional occupations, program models and populations. Up to $11.5 million will be provided to build, support and expand registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs with a focus on diversity and underserved populations, non-traditional occupations and alignment with secondary and/or post-secondary educational institutions. Up to $1 million is available to support registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships through ambassador networks across the commonwealth.
Since the ATO was created in 2016, it has assisted in creating 352 Registered Apprenticeship Programs. In total, it supports 892 individual program sponsors and 1,504 Registered Apprenticeship Programs across the commonwealth, as well as 17,797 active registered apprentices as of June 2021.
Additional details and the grant application can be found on L&I’s website. Grant applications are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 13, 2021.
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