Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier today announced grant awards totaling $1.8 million to continue the expansion of Pennsylvania’s growing network of registered apprenticeship programs.
With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Building America initiative, L&I will support the efforts of nine local workforce development boards (LWDBs) to increase apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities among underrepresented populations.
“Pennsylvania’s registered apprenticeship system offers workers the opportunity to learn in-demand skills while they also earn a paycheck. For employers, apprenticeship is an investment in their workforce – something especially important for businesses competing for talent in an increasingly tight labor market,” Berrier said. “These grants will provide further structure and support for apprenticeships, solidifying opportunities to earn family-sustaining wages without taking on debt so individuals can continue to thrive in the commonwealth.”
The Apprenticeship Building America grant program enables states to expand and modernize registered apprenticeships by increasing the number of programs, adding apprentices, promoting diversity across industries, improving opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities, and increasing accessibility and equity of programming for all apprentices.
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. As of August 2022, the ATO supports 873 unduplicated program sponsors and 1,596 occupation-specific registered apprenticeship programs across the commonwealth, with 16,654 registered apprentices currently active.
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.