SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Apprenticeships in trade industries can be a critical pipeline to solving NEPA’s workforce shortages.

Governor Shapiro thinks it’s important enough that he visited Scranton on Thursday highlighting investments in workforce development during National Apprenticeship Week.

It’s all about expanding programs and creating more opportunities for Pennsylvanians in the building and construction trades.

Governor Shapiro toured United Association Local 524’s Training Facility in Scranton. The union represents more than 800 workers who fabricate, install, and service piping systems, and they’ve trained more than 200 apprentices.

“It is going to be tradeswomen and men like those who are represented here, who are going to be part of rebuilding our country,” said Governor Josh Shapiro.

Edward May is one of the apprentices. After serving our country in the United States Marine Corps, he found a new career path as an HVAC technician.

“Some of the things I love are, it’s never slow or boring, something’s always changing, you’re always working on something new,” May explained.

In the 2023-24 budget, Shapiro secured nearly $24 million to prepare more students for skilled careers and $6 million in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programming.

“I think the value of this kind of work and the respect we show it in our middle schools and in our high schools. I think we have a responsibility to fund important programs, vo-tech programs in our middle schools and high schools,” Shapiro said.

May encourages others to explore trade careers.

“There is quite a shortage of people in the trades right now, and it’s really worth it if you put your time and energy into it,” May said.

Governor Shapiro signed an executive order in July creating the Commonwealth workforce transformation program.