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Reading-based IBEW Local 743 awarded nearly $300,000 state grant for apprenticeships in region

The local branch of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has been awarded a nearly $300,000 state grant to provide training for more than 30 electrical industry apprentices.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that IBEW Local 743, in partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association, will receive the new funding through the Pennsylvania Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program.

“It’s vitally important to recruit and train the next generation of workers in the electrical industry,” the governor said in a press release. “Apprenticeship programs like this one give trainees both the classroom work and the on-the-job experience to ensure there will be a continuous pipeline of talent to bolster the industry.”

The two organizations will prepare 30 to 36 people from Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Montgomery and Schuylkill counties to become qualified electrical workers through a five-year apprenticeship program. The program includes 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 1,000 hours of classroom-related instruction.

“The electrical industry has created a significant demand for qualified electrical workers in our five-county area, and with the support of the Department of Community and Economic Development, our apprenticeship program will expand enrollment,” said Ed Bernitsky, training director for IBEW 743. “In an ever-changing industry, we can provide the most state-of-the-art training while our apprentices earn a fair wage and benefits.”

Located in Reading, IBEW 743 was chartered in 1918 and has been representing electricians in Pennsylvania for more than 100 years. It also represents communication workers, technicians, installers and public works employees.

The Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program works to increase apprenticeship availability to Pennsylvania employers to assist them with their talent recruitment and development. Funding is provided to eligible applicants with the goal of increasing apprenticeships by helping to cover expenses related to instruction that complements on-the-job learning.

Source: Berkshire mont

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