State offering PAsmart grants for apprenticeship programs

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.