The 2018-19 State budget includes $30 million for workforce development initiatives. Funding includes support for career exploration, entry-level job seekers, and those looking to enhance their skills. One goal of the initiative is to double the number of people in apprenticeship programs in Pennsylvania by 2025.
Gerald Oleksiak, Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry, provided an overview of PAsmart during a recent visit to the PA CareerLink office in Sunbury. Since the Apprenticeship and Training Office was established in 2016, the number of apprentices across the state has increased 27% to 16,000. In addition to $20 million for STEM career education, the budget includes $7 for apprenticeships and $3 million for industry partnerships. The United States lags significantly behind other countries, especially those in Europe, in the number of people in apprenticeships.
Oleksiak also toured The Link, a mobile CareerLink services unit being piloted in the Central Susquehanna region. The Link provides access to job search services with staff assistance to rural areas. Jennifer Noll told her story to Secretary Oleksiak about how access to CareerLink services through The Link was life-changing in helping her get from an “unthinkable situation” to a job with the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. Follow The Link on Facebook for a schedule of upcoming locations.
Resources for people exploring careers and training, as well as entrepreneurs looking to start a business, are available online.