Gov. Wolf: PAsmart Program Expands Opportunity for Pennsylvanians

PA apprenticeshipCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — PAsmart is an initiative led by Governor Tom Wolf with the goal of increasing access to registered apprenticeship programs in non-traditional industries, as well as reaching underserved populations. The program has had great success thus far, and one of its key partners is IBEW Local 163 in Nanticoke.

Local 163 offers a state-of-the-art training facility for electrical workers, and the PAsmart funding has allowed them to expand their program and reach more workers. The ‘earn-while-you-learn’ model is extremely beneficial for participants, as it allows them to gain on-the-job experience while also earning a paycheck. During a tour yesterday of the state-of-the-art training facility, Governor Wolf praised the work of union leaders in expanding the program, and highlighted the value of registered apprenticeship programs in providing good-paying jobs and developing a skilled workforce.

“While apprenticeships have a strong track record of success in advancing the careers of workers, they have traditionally lagged behind in serving underrepresented populations and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Gov. Wolf. “On average, apprentices earn a starting wage of $70,000 per year after graduation, putting them on track to earn $300,000 more over their careers compared to workers who don’t graduate from an apprenticeship program. I truly believe Pennsylvanians are the hardest workers around, and they deserve fair, equitable access to high-quality jobs, family-sustaining wages, and the support that will allow them to thrive in their career.”

Gov. Wolf’s PAsmart framework designed to better align education, workforce and economic development initiatives and funding. With this funding, IBEW Local 163 will serve a total of 96 individuals through its five-year apprenticeship program, 40 of whom will be from underrepresented populations across Bradford, Luzerne, Sullivan and Wyoming Counties.

“IBEW Local 163 JATC is excited to partner with the PAsmart registered apprenticeships program,” said Local 163’s training director, John Nadolny. “With the help of Governor Wolf and the Apprenticeship & Training Office, it is now possible to expand our program by reaching out to underserved populations, minorities, women and veterans. This outreach will provide excellent opportunities for new apprentices to earn while they learn. After completion of the apprenticeship, graduates will have marketable skills as electricians in this high-demand field, earn family-sustaining wages and receive college credit. We are thankful for this opportunity to help those interested in learning a skilled trade.”

Earlier this week, Gov. Wolf was in Washington, D.C. with President Joe Biden and IBEW members to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act, which will make investments to lower prescription drug costs, health care costs, and energy costs for Americans.

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