Governor Tom Wolf spent Tuesday morning touring Phoenix Contact USA, a manufacturing facility in Middletown, about 15 minutes from Harrisburg. The purpose of his visit was to reinforce the importance of the state’s apprenticeship program and PAsmart Initiative.

Last year, the Governor launched the PAsmart Initiative to boost apprenticeships and other job training opportunities. It’s seen as a win-win for both parties. Workers get proper training, and in turn, manufacturers gain skilled workers.

“The investments we’re making in apprenticeships and other forms of hands on, on the job training are already helping us to get more Pennsylvanians into careers that they can succeed in,” says Governor Wolf. “Let’s make sure that we’re doing everything we can to create skills and talents the industry actually needs. So that when someone graduates from a program, an educational program, there are actually jobs waiting for them,” he adds.

40 million dollars has been secured over the past two budgets to invest in job training. During his tour of Phoenix Contact USA, Governor Wolf spoke with many workers who went through an apprenticeship program instead of a traditional 2 or 4-year college. He says many people are graduating with a lot of debt, but with apprenticeships through the PAsmart initiative, workers are earning while learning.

“One of the problems with so much of education today is that people graduate with a lot of debt. You don’t do that because you’re earning while you’re actually going to school,” explains Governor Wolf.

Daniel Koprowski is a mechatronics technician at Phoenix Contact USA. He went through the apprenticeship program after graduating from vocational school in York County. He says he chose that route over traditional college because of the opportunities he would be presented with.

“It gave me genuine job experience in the field that I was training for. So while classroom training is important, theory is still important, it all basically gets filtered down in practice,” Koprowski says.

Governor Wolf says he has a goal of increasing the number of workers going through apprenticeships and training after high school from the current 47 percent to 60 percent by 2025.