Philadelphia Receives $2.5 Million in PAsmart Grants to Support Next Gen Industry Partnerships and Expand Apprenticeships

PHILADELPHIA – Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry recently announced that Philadelphia workforce stakeholders will receive more than $2.5 million to support innovative approaches in industry partnership programs and apprenticeships.

The funding comes from PAsmart, the new workforce development initiative outlined last year by Governor Wolf to help Pennsylvanians enhance the skills they need for family-sustaining jobs. The PAsmart grants will fund numerous programs citywide, including two industry partnerships and 21 apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

“Employers have a critical role to play in our workforce development system as we prepare Philadelphians for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Through industry partnerships, area businesses have the opportunity to directly influence this system. Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships allow individuals to earn while they learn, while also giving employers the chance to train employees to their specific needs. I am thrilled about this investment that the Commonwealth is making in workforce development, and look forward to seeing the results here in Philadelphia.”

Industry partnerships bring together multiple employers in the same industry, along with workforce development and community partners. These public-private partnerships convene to align workforce planning with the needs of employers to create industry-specific talent development and retention solutions.

“Industry partnerships are a central piece of Philadelphia’s citywide workforce strategy,” said Sheila Ireland, Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Workforce Development. “Sharing similar goals, local industry partnerships will help build a workforce system that is more coordinated and effective. We are excited for this new investment into the city and grateful for the opportunity to promote career advancement for all Philadelphians.”

Philadelphia Works Inc. will administer the industry partnership grants.

“On behalf of the members of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Alliance, as well as all recipients of Next Gen Industry Partnership grants, we thank Governor Wolf and the Commonwealth for investing in partnerships that work,” said Frank Cettina and Karla Trotman, Co-Chairs of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Alliance. “These funds will allow us to establish more comprehensive services to help local employers address their talent development needs, as well as increasing our capacity to reach more businesses than ever before. This funding is further proof in the growing body of evidence to show that investments in Industry Partnerships pay real dividends for job seekers, businesses, and ultimately, the Commonwealth.”

Additionally, several organizations received funding for their apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships are an employer-driven approach to creating a pipeline of diverse and knowledgeable workers. Apprenticeships combine industry specific classroom-based instruction with on-the-job training, providing the worker the opportunity to “earn while they learn” the essential skills of the job. Registered Apprenticeships are formalized programs that connect workers with an employer of record to provide a guaranteed job upon completion of training.

Pre-apprenticeship programs are bridges to registered apprenticeship programs designed to prepare young people or other specific populations for the academic or technical rigors of an apprenticeship. Pre-apprenticeships help to reduce turnover in registered apprenticeship programs while providing participants with an understanding of the different career pathways available in a specific industry.

“These grants provide a critical piece of funding to expand the size and scope of our successful Industry Partnerships while fueling innovation in our private sector partners,” said H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works. “As more employers realize the benefits of building sustainable training programs, we will be ready to help guide and facilitate the creation of new models and career pathways that serve both job seekers and businesses. On behalf of the staff and stakeholders of Philadelphia Works, we thank Governor Wolf for his continued leadership on this important issue.”

The PAsmart grants will help Philadelphia workforce stakeholders address many of the recommendations put forth in Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, the citywide workforce development strategy released in 2018. The strategy focuses on three main goals: preparing Philadelphians with the skills employers need; addressing barriers to career opportunities; and building a workforce system that is more coordinated, innovative and effective.

The full list of PAsmart grant recipients in Philadelphia includes:

Next Gen IP – Convening

  • Philadelphia Works
    $35,038 to create an industry partnership in hospitality, leisure and entertainment
  • Philadelphia Works
    $45,000 to support ongoing convening of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Alliance

Next Gen IP – Implementation

  • Philadelphia Works
    $200,000 to implement business-driven priorities of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Alliance


  • Asbestos Workers Local Union No. 14 (DBA International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers JAC (LU14) Training Center)
    $70,000 to increase recruitment of women applicants
  • Aubrey Karoglan
    $149,780 for a medical assistant apprenticeship for Universal Audenried CTE students
  • District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund
    $300,000 to establish a statewide system that supports Early Childhood Education apprenticeships
  • District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund
    $150,000 to add new apprenticeship programs, expand existing programs, and increase the number of health and human service employers sponsoring apprentices
  • First Up
    $68,262 for Early Childhood Education apprenticeships
  • Philadelphia Area Labor-Management Committee
    $150,000 for 20+ multi-employer building and construction apprenticeship programs
  • Philadelphia Carpenters Joint Apprentice Committee (JAC)
    $50,346 for safety-related education and training
  • Philadelphia Works (on behalf of ApprenticeshipPHL)
    $300,000 for SEPA Region Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador Network
  • The Wistar Institute
    $68,262 for The Wistar Institute’s biomedical research technician apprenticeship


  • The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture
    $77,000 for Arts2Work
  • Community College of Philadelphia
    $150,000 to expand career readiness programs, increase participation from women and minorities, and adjust programming to be more relevant to training and industry standards
  • Community College of Philadelphia
    $60,000 for the Industrial Maintenance Technician program
  • Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC)
    $40,000 for a pilot pre-apprenticeship program in manufacturing
  • District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund
    $45,950 for an ApprenticeshipPHL program which will enroll new behavioral health pre-apprenticeships
  • JEVS Human Services
    $150,000 for TechServ pre-apprenticeships
  • Philadelphia Area Labor-Management Committee
    $40,000 to establish a pipeline to Registered Apprenticeships for individuals served by community-based organizations
  • Philadelphia OIC
    $149,986 for pre-apprenticeships that produce FAA certified drone technology employees
  • Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc. (PYN)
    $45,950 for the CVS Pharmacy Technician pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship program
  • School District of Philadelphia
    $77,000 for The Urban Technology Project to increase exposure for CTE students interested in technology and computer science
  • Tech Impact
    $100,000 to propose the ITWorks pre-apprenticeship program
  • The Wistar Institute
    $60,000 for The Wistar Institute’s biomedical research technician training program

Additionally, PAsmart will fund the School District of Philadelphia with a $500,000 advancing grant through the Department of Education to help expand opportunities for computer science in middle school and high school.