Governor Shapiro and L&I Secretary Walker Celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, Highlight Investments in PA’s Workforce at United Association Local 524 Facility in Scranton

Scranton, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro and Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Nancy A. Walker visited United Association Local 524 in Scranton to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and highlight the Shapiro Administration’s historic investments in workforce development that will help expand apprenticeship programs and create more opportunities for Pennsylvanians in the building and construction trades.

“As Secretary Walker and I have traveled across the Commonwealth this week to commemorate National Apprenticeship Week, we’ve seen firsthand the vital role that registered apprenticeship programs play in creating a highly-trained workforce that millions of Pennsylvanians depend on,” said Governor Shapiro. “That’s why in my first budget, I proposed – and secured – historic investments that fund apprenticeship programs and build partnerships to connect the dots between our businesses, our schools, and labor. We will continue to support the hardworking women and men of organized labor and invest in their success by supporting apprenticeship programs like those offered here at Local 524.”

In the 2023-24 budget, Governor Shapiro secured $23.5 million to prepare more students for skilled careers, $6 million in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programming, and an additional $3.5 million to fund L&I’s Schools-to-Work Program to develop and expand career pathways for high school students via partnerships between schools, employers, organizations, and the Commonwealth.

“Registered apprenticeship programs connect Pennsylvanians with earn-while-you-learn opportunities and employers with the talent needed to fill critical jobs. United Association Local 524 helps make this possible,” said Secretary Walker. “In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week, I want to thank Local 524 as it leads the way toward a bright future for Pennsylvania families and an economy that works for everyone.”

During today’s visit, Governor Shapiro and Secretary Walker toured United Association Local 524’s training facility and met with apprentices during instruction. Founded in 1911, United Association Local 524 are part of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada. Local 524 currently represents over 800 craftsmen in northeastern Pennsylvania who fabricate, install and service piping systems – and they currently have 43 active apprentices and 146 completed apprentices.   

“This is a big event for us because this is a relatively newly expanded training center that we have here, and we’re happy to have the Governor and all of the other dignitaries here to check on our facility,” said Pat Dolan, United Association Local 524 Business Manager. “We’re here today to talk about apprenticeship programs, and I can tell you as a 38-year member, and as a person who has gone through all new apprenticeship programs, it can be a life changing event to give people an opportunity to have a quality of life that most would never dream they could have.”

“The impact of apprenticeships extends across various industries, from manufacturing and construction to technology and healthcare,” said Senator Marty Flynn. “By investing in skills development and fostering innovation, apprentices play a vital role in addressing the evolving needs of our 21st century global economy.”

In addition to budget investments in workforce development, Governor Shapiro signed an Executive Order in July creating the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program (CWTP), a first-in-the-nation job training program that provides workforce development grants for companies and organizations working on infrastructure projects funded by President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or the Inflation Reduction Act to receive up to $40,000 for each new worker they train. The CWTP is expected to support as many as 10,000 new jobs and invest up to $400 million in workforce development, the largest investment in Pennsylvania history.

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 882 unduplicated program sponsors, 107 registered pre-apprenticeship programs, and 1,645 occupation-specific registered apprenticeship programs across the Commonwealth, with more than 17,000 registered apprentices currently active.

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