PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf was at the IBEW Local 5 and Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association Apprenticeship Training Center in Pittsburgh Thursday to unveil details of his PAsmart initiative, a $30 million investment in job training for the state’s fastest-growing and most in-demand jobs.
Of the $30 million, $7 million will go toward apprenticeship programs with a goal of doubling the number of registered apprentices in the state to more than 30,000 by 2025.
“We need to deliver opportunity to our citizens so that they can find careers in dynamic fields and grow our economy. PAsmart is going to help in that regard,” Gov. Wolf told a gathering of local officials, members of the IBEW Local 5 and WPANECA and news reporters.
Apprenticeship programs are desirable to businesses because they provide employees with industry-driven training for a more skilled workforce. The workers also benefit because they gain select skills and nationally recognized credentials to support future career advancement and increased wages.
Todd Mikec, president of Canonsburg-based Lighthouse Electric Company, spoke about his decision to enter the IBEW Local 5 and WPANECA apprenticeship program in the early 1980s and said it was the best decision of his career.
“It’s a career choice that provides a solid foundation of unlimited opportunity,” Mikec said.
At Dagostino Electronic Services, our journeyman technicians and journeyman wiremen are members of the IBEW and have completed a comprehensive apprenticeship program through the IBEW-NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.
“Apprenticeships transform lives,” Gov. Wolf stated. “With apprenticeships, people can provide for their families by earning a good living and learning a skill. We need more apprentices to enhance our well-educated and talented workforce and attract more industry to Pennsylvania.”
Rep. Harry Readshaw, who represents Pennsylvania’s 36th district which includes Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood, reiterated the governor’s remarks.
“After the experience and lesson learned of losing the steel industry in Western Pennsylvania, the people are extremely aware of the need and opportunity for job training,” he said. “Individuals must be prepared for diversified employment and excited about their future. Job training is the foundation for success.”
PAsmart supports Gov. Wolf’s goal to increase the number of workers with training after high school from 47 percent today to 60 percent by 2025.
In addition to the money for apprenticeships, PAsmart includes $3 million to bring together workers and employers in the same industry for job training and $20 million for STEM and computer science education across the state.
Read more at governor.pa.gov.