New Funding Awarded to Increase Industrial Paint Apprentices in PA 

Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Rick Siger announced $296,722 in new funding for Finishing Trades Institute of Western PA (FTI WPA) to expand apprenticeship opportunities for the construction industry in Western Pennsylvania.

To attract these apprentices, FTI WPA will expand their social media presence and strengthen existing relationships with workforce and community organizations. The apprenticeship curriculum will focus on the main needs of the industrial paint industry, specifically the removal of old toxic paint coatings from existing and aging infrastructure; application of new, safer specialty coatings that can increase the life span of infrastructure; and containment and proper disposal of old toxic coatings.

Through this funding, provided through DCED’s Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program, FTI WPA plans to add approximately 20 new apprentices across more than 10 employers over the next three years.

“The apprentices participating in FTI WPA’s program will learn valuable skills as they prepare to enter the construction industry in the Commonwealth,” said DCED Acting Secretary Siger. “Investing in our people and apprenticeship programs like this one is a critical strategy to strengthen the Pennsylvania economy.”

In addition to time spent in the classroom, apprentices will use lab and shop space to experience real-life, hands-on demonstrations on how to safely and properly use tools and equipment during applications, use materials to practice on the job type activities in a controlled setting, and complete computer lab work on both International Finishing Trades Institute curriculum as well as research projects and exercises in virtual reality. This DCED grant money complements the work being done in the registered apprenticeship space at the Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO), housed in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

“Apprenticeships are a pathway to specialized skills for Pennsylvanians, giving them a competitive edge without the need for college requirements or four-year degrees,” said Nancy Walker, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I). “Apprentices can fast-track their careers to build better lives for themselves while contributing to Pennsylvania’s everchanging workforce, helping to strengthen our economy now and in the future.”