The state of Pennsylvania is investing an additional $10 million into an apprenticeship and job training program called PAsmart. The initiative is meant to strengthen the commonwealth's middle class and increase the amount of skilled workers in the economy, to ultimately attract more industry.
PAsmart will distribute this money through competitive grants to places such as chambers of commerce, post-secondary institutions and labor organizations.
Gov. Tom Wolf says there are currently 16,000 registered apprentices in the commonwealth.
"That's 16,000 men and women getting on the job training in a wide variety of fields that's going to help all of us," Wolf said. "Going to help our businesses, going to help our economy."
Wolf says PAsmart will help the state reach its goal of 30,000 registered apprentices by 2025. Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said the state is hoping to build on the success of this program by expanding to nontraditional apprenticeships.
"Childcare, cyber security, medical technology," he said. "A lot of things that people don't often think about as traditional apprenticeship programs we would like to expand."
Oleksiak said job training programs give workers valuable skills they need to succeed in an industry, and can lead to higher salaries.