Shapiro Creates New Job Training Program to Develop Workers of Tomorrow

Gov. Josh Shapiro speaking at the Lehigh Valley International Airport on July 28, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

July 31, 2023

The Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program will be able to train Pennsylvania’s workforce for critical infrastructure projects funded by President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Gov. Josh Shapiro on Monday signed an executive order to create a new workforce training program that provides funding to organizations involved in improving Pennsylvania’s infrastructure.

Shapiro’s order establishes the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program (CWTP), which allows organizations doing infrastructure work funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) or the Inflation Reduction Act to receive up to $40,000 for each new worker they train.

“If we want to build big things again in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, if we want to create real opportunity for our people, then we need to invest in our workers and expand our workforce. And right now, we have a moment we must seize,” Shapiro said at Monday’s press conference in Pittsburgh.

According to Shapiro’s administration, the CWTP, which will be administered through the Department of Labor and Industry, is the first of its kind in the nation. Under the new program, the commonwealth will reserve at least 3% of all funding it receives from the IIJA and IRA—two of President Biden’s signature policy achievements—to fund workforce development training in Pennsylvania over the next five years. The state could set aside as much as $400 million for this new initiative.

The CWPT will provide up to $40,000 for each new employee hired and trained in Pennsylvania for infrastructure projects, and up to a maximum of $400,000 per contract or award under the two federal programs. The grants will reimburse employers for the cost of wages, compensation, payroll taxes and training costs for new employees.

The grants can also be used to cover apprenticeship program costs, costs associated with establishing a training program, and costs incurred while using a training facility.

In total, the program hopes to create up to 10,000 new jobs.

“Under the new federal laws, Pennsylvania is set to receive about $19 billion for us to invest in our infrastructure over the next few years. I want you to know we are going to make good use of that funding in Pennsylvania to repair our roads and bridges, to connect people to high speed affordable internet [and] to build a clean energy infrastructure for the future,” said Shapiro.

“This program showcases how the work we are doing on Capitol Hill to invest in our communities and put the people over the powerful is making its way back home. With this program, federal dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be used to empower people who need job training both across the state and here in Pittsburgh,” Congresswoman Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) said at Monday’s press conference.

The CWPT was created closely with representatives from the the Biden Administration, unions and the private sector.

Darrin Kelly, the president of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, spoke at the press conference in support of the creation of the CWPT.

“I know everyone is driving around right now and they’re seeing construction everywhere. Do not lose sight of what that is,” Kelly said. “The reality is – yes, we’re investing in our bridges, our dams, our telecommunications, everything around it but the most important thing is the investment in its most important asset and that’s its people.”

 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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