PHILADELPHIA – Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry recently announced that Philadelphia workforce stakeholders will receive more than $2.5 million to support innovative approaches in industry partnership programs and registered apprenticeships.
The funding comes from PAsmart, the new workforce development initiative outlined last year by Governor Wolf to help Pennsylvanians enhance the skills they need for family-sustaining jobs. The PAsmart grants will fund numerous programs citywide, including three industry partnerships and 20 apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
“Employers have a critical role to play in our workforce development system as we prepare Philadelphians for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Through industry partnerships, area businesses have the opportunity to directly influence this system. Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships allow individuals to earn while they learn, while also giving employers the chance to train employees to their specific needs. I am thrilled about this investment that the Commonwealth is making in workforce development, and look forward to seeing the results here in Philadelphia.”
Industry partnerships bring together multiple employers in the same industry, along with workforce development and community partners. These public-private partnerships convene to align workforce planning with the needs of employers in order to create industry-specific talent development and retention solutions.
“Industry partnerships are a central piece of Philadelphia’s citywide workforce strategy,” said Sheila Ireland, executive director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Workforce Development. “Sharing similar goals, local industry partnerships will help build a workforce system that is more coordinated, innovative and effective. We are excited for this new investment into the city and grateful for the opportunity to promote career advancement for all Philadelphians.”
Philadelphia Works Inc. will administer the industry partnership grants.
“On behalf of the members of the Southeast PA Manufacturing Alliance, as well as all recipients of Next Gen Industry Partnership grants, we thank Governor Wolf and the Commonwealth for investing in partnerships that work,” said Frank Cettina and Karla Trotman, Co-Chairs of the Southeast Regional Manufacturing Alliance. “These funds will allow us to establish more comprehensive services to help local employers address their talent development needs, as well as increasing our capacity to reach more businesses than ever before. This funding is further proof in the growing body of evidence to show that investments in Industry Partnerships pay real dividends for job seekers, businesses, and ultimately, the Commonwealth.”
Additionally, several organizations received funding for their apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships are an employer-driven approach to creating a pipeline of diverse and knowledgeable workers. Apprenticeships combine industry specific classroom-based instruction with on-the-job training, providing the worker the opportunity to “earn while they learn” the essential skills of the job. Registered Apprenticeships are formalized programs that connect workers with an employer of record to provide a guaranteed job upon completion of training.
Pre-apprenticeship programs are bridges to registered apprenticeship programs designed to prepare young people or other specific populations for the academic or technical rigors of an apprenticeship. Pre-apprenticeships help to reduce turnover in registered apprenticeship programs while providing participants with an understanding of the different career pathways available in a specific industry.
“These grants provide a critical piece of funding to expand the size and scope of our successful Industry Partnerships while fueling innovation in our private sector partners,” said H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works. “As more employers realize the benefits of building sustainable training programs, we will be ready to help guide and facilitate the creation of new models and career pathways that serve both job seekers and businesses. On behalf of the staff and stakeholders of Philadelphia Works, we thank Governor Wolf for his continued leadership on this important issue.”
The PAsmart grants will help Philadelphia workforce stakeholders address many of the recommendations put forth in Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, the citywide workforce development strategy released in 2018. The strategy focuses on three main goals: preparing Philadelphians with the skills employers need; addressing barriers to career opportunities; and building a workforce system that is more coordinated, innovative and effective.
The full list of PAsmart grant recipients in Philadelphia include: