Governor Wolf Announces New Funding to Expand Manufacturing Training in the Berks Region

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of new funding for the Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) to support the last phase of a new welding facility that will serve 16 public school districts, private schools, residents, and businesses in the Berks County area. The grant will come from Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative.

“This Training-to-Career grant will enable Berks Career and Technology Center to significantly expand manufacturing training and job opportunities for Berks County residents,” Governor Wolf said. “We commend BCTC’s work to help Pennsylvania build the strongest workforce in the nation and reaffirm our commitment to our commonwealth’s manufacturing industry.”

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The grant will provide $200,000 to BCTC for the purchase of new welding equipment, and to hire a welding instructor and an outreach coordinator. BCTC is expanding its current welding facility to bring new opportunities to train students with advanced equipment and additional learning experiences. The expansion will enable BCTC to increase the welding class size from 25 to 40 students, for both morning and afternoon instruction. The new facility is set to open in 2020.

“Berks Career and Technology Center is thrilled to be a recipient of the Training-to-Career grant,” said John Reedy, director of Business Affairs and Continuing Education at BCTC. “This grant will support our goals to continue building the number of skilled manufacturing workers in the area, supporting existing manufactures in Berks County, and providing an advantage for advanced manufacturing firms to consider locating in Berks. We appreciate Governor Wolf’s support and his commitment to the manufacturing industry.”

The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant is designed to provide funding for training programs to help unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as those with barriers, to gain the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector. Eligible applicants include technical and trade schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations that develop new and innovative training programs and partner with two or more manufacturers.

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The Training-to-Career grant is part of Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative that was launched in October 2017. This initiative ensures that training leads not simply to any job, but to careers that provide higher pay and opportunities for advancement. Working with DCED’s strategic partners, including Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs), Pennsylvania’s colleges, universities, technical schools, and non-profit organizations, this initiative fosters collaboration and partnerships to accelerate technology advancement, encourage innovation and commercialization, and build a 21st century workforce.

In the 2019-2020 Executive Budget, Governor Wolf proposed the new Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) to provide workforce development opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. SWEAP will expand access to early childhood education, increase investments in schools and educators, and further partner with the private sector to build on the PAsmart initiative. Through SWEAP and PAsmart, the governor is calling for an additional $4 million to help Pennsylvania manufacturers train workers and $6 million to expand career and technical education for adults.

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