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Location: Home / Technology / L&I Joins Penn College for Educational Summit on Importance of Apprenticeships in Recruiting, Retaining Skilled Workers

L&I Joins Penn College for Educational Summit on Importance of Apprenticeships in Recruiting, Retaining Skilled Workers

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Williamsport, PA – Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry's (L&I) Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) joined workforce development professionals today at Pennsylvania College of Technology (PCT) for an annual summit to highlight the integral role apprenticeship programs play for employers in both attracting and maintaining a skilled workforce.

"Pennsylvania has a long and proud history of apprenticeship programs focused on the skilled trades industries, like manufacturing, construction, and transportation. In the last few years, new apprenticeship opportunities have emerged in industries like healthcare, IT, and energy. As a workforce development strategy, apprenticeships are gaining momentum in non-traditional occupations and strengthening our commonwealth's economy," said Tara Loew, director of the ATO. "It is a proven fact that registered apprenticeships create employment opportunities, with most apprentices earning an average starting salary of $70,000 upon completion of their program."

Loew joined workforce development professionals from PCT for the 2022 Apprenticeship Summit along with an audience of employers from a variety of industries that are either already participating in apprenticeships or are interested in starting an apprenticeship program. The theme of today's summit was "Improving Recruitment and Retention through Apprenticeship," where experts explained what registered apprenticeship is, how a program is constructed, and how it can benefit a company's bottom line.

"The challenges of a skilled worker shortage are impacting companies in all sectors and are only getting worse as we rebound from COVID," said Chris Ray, executive director of workforce development at PCT. "Apprenticeships overcome these challenges through comprehensive upskilling of employees, while bolstering recruiting and retention efforts to further close the skills gap."

PCT staff emphasized the many pathways to education and ultimately a successful career, making the point that industry training – especially apprenticeship – and a college education are not always mutually exclusive.

"Penn College has an extensive history of responding to the needs of industry. These summits are yet another example of our agility in understanding urgent workforce needs, while providing timely and critical information to help companies overcome the challenges they present," said Shannon Munro, vice president for workforce development at PCT.

At the summit, speakers highlighted PCT's new Apprenticeship Technology degree, which offers a flexible and expedited pathway for students to earn their associate's degree in Apprenticeship Technology.

Established in 2016, L&I's Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) supports and expands registered apprenticeship programs statewide. As a part of Governor Tom Wolf's PAsmart framework, the office provides outreach, education, and technical support to current and prospective apprenticeship program sponsors and apprentices. The ATO aims to expand the apprenticeship model to non-traditional occupations and ensure apprenticeship opportunities are available to underrepresented communities across the commonwealth.

If interested in entering a program, your local PA CareerLink® office will be able to connect you to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities and may be able to provide additional funding and other resources to support your training. If interested in building and registering a program, contact the ATO at apprenticeship@pa.gov to ask questions or to express your interest in apprenticeship.

L&I Joins Penn College for Educational Summit on Importance of Apprenticeships in Recruiting, Retaining Skilled Workers

Currently, the ATO supports more than 17,000 active apprentices, nearly 5,000 new apprentices and more than 1,500 active occupation-specific apprenticeship programs around the commonwealth.

The Wolf Administration has directly invested $28 million in Pennsylvania apprenticeship programs since 2018, focused on increasing academic training in computer sciences, science, technology, engineering, and math education to strengthen Pennsylvania's workforce.

In April, Governor Wolf announced awards totaling more than $11 million for 26 apprenticeship programs that will empower Pennsylvania workers to earn while they learn and support Pennsylvania businesses in building a pipeline of talent for occupations in agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, IT, education, human services, building trades, and more.

The latest round of grant funding supports apprenticeship programs with a specific focus on diverse talent pipelines and underserved populations, non-traditional occupations, and alignment with secondary and post-secondary educational institutions. Each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties will be served by one or more of the funded programs.

In March, the administration also announced a new round of grant funding available to Pennsylvania apprenticeship programs to develop diverse talent pipelines and reach underrepresented populations within the building and construction trades. A total of $1.5 million is available.

Governor Wolf's 2022-23 budget proposal includes an additional $7 million investment for apprenticeships.

L&I estimates that, on average, apprentices are on track to earn $300,000 more than other workers over their careers. Nearly nine out of 10 apprentices are employed after completing their apprenticeship. For every dollar spent on apprenticeships, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity.

For more information, you can visit www.dli.pa.gov, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alex Peterson,dlipress@pa.gov

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