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Training Fund awarded $500,000, Philadelphia $2.5 Million, in PAsmart Grants to Expand Apprenticeship

Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry have announced that Philadelphia workforce stakeholders will receive more than $2.5 million to support innovative approaches in industry partnership programs and apprenticeships – including nearly $500,000 awarded directly to the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund.

February 14th, 2019: The funding comes from PAsmart, the new workforce development initiative outlined last year by Governor Wolf to help Pennsylvanians enhance the skills they need for family-sustaining jobs. The PAsmart grants will fund numerous programs citywide, including two industry partnerships and 21 apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. The Training Fund’s awards included:

• $300,000 to establish and lead a statewide Apprenticeship AMBASSADOR Network that supports Early Childhood Education apprenticeships
• $150,000 to add new apprenticeship programs, expand existing programs, and increase the number of health and human service employers sponsoring apprentices
• $45,950 for an ApprenticeshipPHL program which will enroll new behavioral health pre-apprentices

The Training Fund also acted as a partner on multiple other funded proposals, awarded to partners including First Up, Philadelphia Works, Inc. and Arcadia University.

Apprenticeships are an employer-driven approach to creating a pipeline of diverse and knowledgeable workers. Apprenticeships combine industry specific classroom-based instruction with on-the-job training, providing the worker the opportunity to “earn while they learn” the essential skills of the job. Pre-apprenticeship programs are bridges to registered apprenticeship programs designed to prepare young people or other specific populations for the academic or technical rigors of an apprenticeship. Pre-apprenticeships help to reduce turnover in registered apprenticeship programs while providing participants with an understanding of the different career pathways available in a specific industry.

The PAsmart grants will help Philadelphia workforce stakeholders address many of the recommendations put forth in Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, the citywide workforce development strategy released in 2018. The strategy focuses on three main goals: preparing Philadelphians with the skills employers need; addressing barriers to career opportunities; and building a workforce system that is more coordinated, innovative and effective.

“Employers have a critical role to play in our workforce development system as we prepare Philadelphians for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships allow individuals to earn while they learn, while also giving employers the chance to train employees to their specific needs. I am thrilled about this investment that the Commonwealth is making in workforce development, and look forward to seeing the results here in Philadelphia.”