As part of this year’s budget, $30 million is going to establish the ‘PA Smart’ initiative which aims to help businesses expand job training. $7 million of that is going to increase support for apprenticeships across the state.
The Departments of Labor and Industry and Community Economic and Development have been working to expand these apprenticeship programs to new industries. They say it’s the wave of the future when it comes to job recruiting in Pennsylvania.
“I cannot stress the importance of developing new talent,” says Tyson Berkey, Operations Manager at Tooling Dynamics. The business is in York County and has more than 200 employees, but an aging workforce is resulting in skilled workers retiring and no one to replace them.
Berkey says, “Our growth is really limited to how quickly we can bring on skilled labor to our company and our workforce.”
Which is why they are receiving almost $44,000 in grant money to create new apprenticeship programs, allowing the company to train younger workers for the jobs they so desperately need filled.
Dennis Davin, Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, says, “We have a fairly older workforce in the state of Pennsylvania. So, we need to get these younger people, give them options for coming into these businesses.”
In 2016, the Apprenticeship and Training Office was established. Since then, the number of apprentices across the state has increased by 27% to 16,000.
On Monday, Davin stressed the importance of continuing to expand those programs. “We want to hit as many businesses as we can throughout the state of Pennsylvania.”
The goal now, Davin says, is to double the number of registered apprentices in the state by 2025. “We want to put more attention and more dollars to these programs because we think they’re very successful”.
“In Harrisburg, Matt Heckel, Jet 24 Action News”