Lancaster, Pennsylvania – This week, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding will travel to Pennsylvania to visit agricultural apprenticeship programs at Lancaster, State College, Williamsburg and Pittsburgh in honor of National Apprenticeship Week. As part of the Wolf administration’s $ 30 million investment in agriculture and workforce training, seven state-certified agricultural apprenticeship programs and two pre-apprenticeships offer the next generation of workers hands-on and paid experience in high-demand food and agricultural jobs.
“Pennsylvania farm workers are essential to ensuring food and agriculture products reach consumers in the Commonwealth and around the world,” Secretary Redding said. “National Apprenticeship Week is an opportunity to highlight skilled careers in agriculture and opportunities in Pennsylvania to learn while earning and move forward in a growing field. These programs train the next generation of food and agriculture workers for competitive and in-demand jobs. open career paths to fulfilling and meaningful work. ”
Pennsylvania’s $ 132.5 billion agricultural industry supports more than 593,000 jobs in the Commonwealth, paying nearly $ 33 billion in wages each year. Over the next decade, agriculture is expected to face a labor shortage of 75,000 workers as farmers and laborers retire and new technology-based jobs become available. Agricultural apprenticeship The programs prepare the next generation of agricultural and food workers by developing the technical skills and agility needed to master emerging technologies through hands-on, on-the-job training.
“To help the next generation of leaders thrive, the Wolf administration launched the PAsmart initiative in 2018, investing $ 30 million in vocational training, particularly for STEM education. Part of that investment has been to increase the number of registered pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs across the Commonwealth, “said Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier.” Currently, L&I has over 1,500 registered apprenticeships, as well as 74 enrolled pre-learning.
These programs are built on the dedication and guidance of established professionals who are ready to design a unique program and ultimately hire apprentices. We see this symbiotic relationship happening in real time here in Lititz at Binkley & Hurst, which has been part of the development and creation of the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association’s learning and pre-apprenticeship programs from the start. “
In 2018, Governor Tom Wolf launched the PAsmart initiative, by investing $ 30 million in vocational training and science and technology education. As part of the PAsmart initiative, the Learning, Pre-Learning and Learning Ambassador Network grants support schools, students, workers and businesses in the Commonwealth of Nations to help Pennsylvanians develop skills for jobs in demand and, in turn, support businesses by creating a workforce to hire.
Recognizing the need for manpower, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture launched a Workforce Development Initiative in 2015 to promote and expand the state’s agricultural education programs and opportunities vocational and technical training. Through this initiative, the ministry identified the 25 most requested professions in agriculture, including production agriculture; animal and veterinary health services; landscaping; food manufacturing, forestry, lumber and wood products; and conservation and natural resources.
“For the agricultural education and workforce, learning and pre-learning opportunities are invaluable to the sustainability of our industry,” said Stephon Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence. “Providing opportunities to acquire valuable skills relevant to career interests creates opportunities to identify talent early on and shape student experiences based on the demands of the job, business and organizational culture. ”
Through the Commission for Excellence in Agricultural Education, the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Education produced a agricultural education report for schools across the Commonwealth. In coordination with the ministries of agriculture and education, the 15-member commission is responsible for developing a statewide agricultural education plan. In addition to the commission, the Wolf administration invests in future generations of farmers through Pennsylvania Farm Bill programs, including the Ag & Youth Grants Program, the Farm to School Program, and the Farm Vitality Grants Program.
National Apprenticeship Week runs November 15-21, 2021. Dates and locations for the Pennsylvania Agriculture Apprenticeship Tour include:
- Monday, November 15: Virtual round table and visit to Binkley & Hurst in Lititz, PA
- Tuesday, November 16: Penn State’s Meat Laboratory at State College, PA
- Wednesday November 17: Clover Creek Cheese Cellar in Williamsburg, PA
- Thursday November 18: Eichenlaub Inc., in Millvale, PA and Braddock Farms in Braddock, PA
To learn more about agricultural apprenticeship programs and workforce development initiatives, visit agriculture.pa.gov
Note: Photos and videos of the tours will be available on PACast.com.
CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Shannon Powers, Agriculture, [email protected]