TRADES & UNION DIGEST > Apprenticeships > Wolf Administration Tours Glazier Apprenticeship Program, Highlights Governor’s SWEAP Plan to Address the Skills Gap and Worker Shortage

Wolf Administration Tours Glazier Apprenticeship Program, Highlights Governor’s SWEAP Plan to Address the Skills Gap and Worker Shortage

3 years ago
Charlie Sprang

Credit: PA Dept. of Labor and Industry Press Release

Philadelphia – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani toured a state-registered apprenticeship program for in-demand architectural glass and metal technicians, called glaziers, in Philadelphia. The apprentices learn to cut, install, replace, and remove all types of glass and architectural metal, filling the growing demand for skilled glaziers for both residential and commercial projects.

“Industries are experiencing a shortage of trained workers, which is one of the reasons why Governor Wolf is investing in skills training, STEM education, and job programs such as the glaziers registered apprenticeship,” said Cipriani. “Not everyone wants a four-year college degree, but every worker needs real-world skills for in-demand, 21st century jobs. The governor’s SWEAP proposal is the bold plan Pennsylvania needs to strategically invest in its workers and economy.”

Governor Tom Wolf’s Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) plan would expand career and technical education and STEM programs so students and adults are prepared for 21st century jobs.

Cipriani toured the glazier facility at the Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region (FTI), and viewed demonstrations on the machinery, including virtual welding machines and the water testing wall. She also participated in a roundtable discussion with representatives from FTI and the Architectural Glass & Metal Association. The glazier registered apprenticeship program is the only program within the Finishing Trades Institute, and one of only a few in the country, where apprentices graduate with an associate’s degree.

Cipriani said the governor’s SWEAP plan builds on last year’s successful launch of PAsmartOpens In A New Window to create a more qualified and highly-skilled workforce. The proposed PAsmart funding includes:

  • $20 million to expand computer science and STEM education;
  • $7 million to expand registered apprenticeships;
  • $3 million to expand job training through Next Generation Industry Partnerships;
  • $6 million to expand adult career and technical education programs; and
  • $4 million to expand Manufacturing to Career Training Grants.

Other SWEAP components would enable more children to attend high-quality child care; ensure kids are in school age 6 and raise the dropout age to 18; modernize the minimum teacher salary to help address a teacher shortage; expand opportunities for teachers to visit local employers and bring the experience back to the classroom, and increase job training for low-income parents.

The governor also recently created the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. The partnership between state government and private sector leaders will identify and address the barriers to work, skills gaps, and worker shortages in Pennsylvania.

“The glazier apprentice program at the Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region is unlike any other in the country. Our curriculum addresses ever-changing technologies so graduates are the most educated, most efficient workforce,” said Lisa Godlewski, Executive Director, Architectural Glass and Metal Association. “FTI has become the first apprentice training center in the country to have an accredited associate’s degree program, and the first to become accredited as a community college able to confer its own degrees. We are building a ladder of education with local universities so our journeymen and women can continue their education through a bachelor’s and master’s degree.”

The Architectural Glass and Metal Association (AGMA) is a trade association serving regional glazing contractors. AGMA represents member companies by building mutually beneficial relationships and forming strategic alliances with key influencers to shape the greater Philadelphia construction environment.

The Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region (FTI) supplies area contractors with the most highly skilled craftspeople in the construction industry, particularly for the six industries for which they have apprenticeship standards registered: Architectural Glass & Metal Installers (Glaziers), Coatings Applicator Specialist (Industrial Painters), Commercial Paint & Wall Covering, Drywall Finishing, Glassworkers, and Multi-Craft Decorators. FTI designs programs that produce some of the best journeypersons, supervisors, and project managers in North America.

The PAsmartOpens In A New Window website has more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life.