Labor Leaders Praise Shapiro’s Workforce Development Investments

Gov. Josh Shapiro promoting his Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program at the Steamfitters Local 420 training center in Philadelphia on August 2, 2023. (Photo: Commonwealth Media Services)

By Sean Kitchen

August 11, 2023

“These programs build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out. By giving workers the opportunity to earn while they learn, this budget is a clear investment in workers and their families,” said Daniel P. Bauder, president of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO.

Labor leaders from around the commonwealth are praising the workforce development investments that are in Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first budget.

The budget includes a $23.5 million investment in workforce training and vocational tech programs, $6 million for apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programming, and $3.5 million in funding for Labor and Industry’s Schools-to-Work Program, which would help expand career pathways for high school students through partnerships between schools, employers, organizations, and the Commonwealth.

“Governor Shapiro stands by what he runs on. This investment in workforce development will help start the pipeline to prosperity for so many individuals who have been reaching for their piece of the American Dream and will help our employers fill positions in high-demand industries,” said Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council.

Throughout the summer, Shapiro has been traveling across the commonwealth promoting key infrastructure investments made by the Biden Administration and the creation of the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program (CWTP).

Pennsylvania is set to receive over $19 billion in federal funding for critical infrastructure projects from three of President Biden’s key pieces of legislation. This includes the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Shapiro created the CWTP via executive order, and the program could use as much as $400 million from the IIJA and IRA to train workers to complete these critical infrastructure projects. The program will provide organizations or employers up to $40,000 for each new employee hired and trained in Pennsylvania for these projects and the grants can be used to cover the costs of apprenticeship programs, the costs associated with establishing the programs, and the costs of using training facilities.

Labor leaders from around the state are pleased by Shapiro’s commitment to investing in workforce development programs.

“These programs build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out. By giving workers the opportunity to earn while they learn, this budget is a clear investment in workers and their families,” said Daniel P. Bauder, president of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO.

“The trades are very happy to see the historic investment in workforce development and specifically the investments in apprenticeship programs,” said Rob Bair, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council.

“The building trades are the preeminent apprenticeship programs in Pennsylvania and truly know the value that apprenticeship programs bring to the Commonwealth and its residents,” Bair added. “The pathway to the middle class is directly related to apprenticeship programs and investments such as this show the Governor’s commitment to working men and women of the Commonwealth.”

 

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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