Lt. Gov. Austin Davis Highlights Shapiro-Davis Budget Investments in Technical Education During Apprenticeship Forum with Pittsburgh Technology Council
May 19, 2023
PITTSBURGH – At a forum today at Schell Games in Pittsburgh, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and Labor & Industry (L&I) Acting Secretary Nancy Walker highlighted how apprenticeship programs can help Pennsylvania employers find and hire highly-skilled workers and further touted proposed investments in Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget to expand apprenticeship opportunities in the Commonwealth.
“If we’re going to address Pennsylvania’s workforce development issues, we need to create pipelines of talent in key industries like tech, and we need to empower young people to pursue their dreams, no matter what they may be,” said Lt. Gov. Davis. “That’s why the Shapiro-Davis budget invests more into apprenticeship programs and brings career and technical training back into the classroom.”
Governor Shapiro’s budget proposes an increase of $23.8 million to build partnerships between career and technical education and industries, trades and entities that need highly skilled workers. The Shapiro-Davis budget calls for a 43 percent increase, or $3 million, for apprenticeship training through L&I. It also proposes the creation of the Foundations in Industry program, under the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). An investment of $3 million will be provided to start this new initiative and cover costs related to in-classroom instruction that complements on-the-job learning through apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
Established in 2016, L&I’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) is responsible for guiding and promoting the expansion and compliance of all registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs across the Commonwealth. The ATO currently supports 873 unduplicated program sponsors and 1,586 occupation-specific registered apprenticeship programs across the Commonwealth, with more than 16,300 registered apprentices currently active. Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal to increase funding for apprenticeships will support the creation of at least 20 new programs serving about 1,200 apprentices.
“Apprenticeship is a proven, successful workforce development model and offers unique career pathways for high school graduates, young workers, dislocated workers, and for individuals looking to gain new skills and advance their careers,” Walker said. “For employers, it is customizable education that builds the talent pool they need to be competitive in the market.”
During the forum, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Schell Games showcased their respective apprenticeship programs to nearly 30 local employers.
“We knew from the first day of the Shapiro-Davis term that this administration understands the importance of prioritizing skills and opportunity over certificates and diplomas,” said Brian Kennedy, senior vice president for operations at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, which has recently placed its first 30 apprentices in software development and cyber security. “By leveraging the time-tested approach of apprenticeships in new fields such as software development and cybersecurity, the Pennsylvania Apprenticeship and Training Office has created life-changing opportunities for people from under-represented communities and the often-overlooked mill towns of western Pennsylvania.”