Wolf Administration Highlights Pennsylvania’s “Earn While You Learn” Opportunities

weldingImage by Jonas Greuter

WILLIAMSPORT, PA — Pennsylvania Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) Director Tara Loew shared the important role registered apprenticeship programs have in preparing the commonwealth’s workforce for in-demand careers during a recent tour of PMF Industries in Lycoming County.

“Strengthening the workforce is a top priority of the Wolf Administration, which is redoubling efforts to help Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania businesses,” said ATO Director Loew. “Registered apprenticeship programs, like the one at PMF Industries, allow commonwealth workers to earn a living while they complete their education and learn valuable job skills. These opportunities are invaluable in today’s economy not only for our workforce, but also for the companies that get a pipeline of highly skilled employees.”

Registered apprenticeship programs are used to provide employer-driven training to create a more productive, diverse, highly skilled workforce for employers and help reduce employee turnover. The program provides job seekers with increased skills, and a nationally recognized credential to support future career advancement and increased wages.

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Created in early 2016, the Department of Labor & Industry’s Apprenticeship Training Office supports 873 individual program sponsors and 1,587 registered apprenticeship programs, occupation or trade additions across the commonwealth, with 17,483 active registered apprentices.

During the tour of PMF Industries, ATO Director Loew spoke with several apprentices who were operating CNC machines and performing heat treating, laser cutting, and welding as part of the company’s manufacturing processes. PMF Industries is an employer partner under Keystone Central School District Career and Technology Center and CNC Operator and Programmer Registered Apprenticeship Program group sponsor. The program is part of an Apprenticeship Consortium with 5 local high schools that offer CTC Programs: Williamsport High School, Jersey Shore High School, Keystone Central, Sun Area Tech in New Berlin, and CPI in Bellefonte and other Williamsport area manufacturers.

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The consortium seeks to align strategic partners and create a Registered Pre-apprenticeship to Registered Apprenticeship pathway through the CTC system with pre-apprenticeship to apprenticeship and employers.

“Manufacturing is more than just innovation in technology, it is also about innovation in people,” said Sam Shea, Human Resource Manager of PMF Industries, Inc. “By creating an environment for learning, local companies can team up with their local career and technical centers and high schools to create a pathway for students to start a career in manufacturing. Apprenticeship programs in CNC Machining, Tooling and Manufacturing Technologies such as IMT (Industrial Manufacturing Technician), not only provide skills and education to individuals, but also build a reliable and dedicated workforce for our communities.”

PMF Industries, Inc. is a precision metal forming firm that serves a variety of industries, such as aerospace, military, energy, filtration, and food processing equipment. The company also serves the medical, micro-electronics, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper industries.

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For more information on apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and other workforce development programs, visit the L&I website.

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