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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Colleges see big drop in foreign-language enrollment; Kentucky advocates say it's time to bury medical debt; Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new farm bill will include key benefits regarding land access.

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The White House presses for supplemental Ukraine aid. Leaders condemn antisemitic attacks during Gaza ceasefire protests. Despite concerns about the next election, one Arizona legal expert says courts generally side with voters and democracy.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Report: Federal funding would ignite apprenticeships, create job pathways

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Friday, November 17, 2023   

Pennsylvania needs more economic opportunities and a new report from the Keystone Research Center showed federal investments in climate and infrastructure projects would help grow a skilled construction workforce.

Diana Polson, senior policy analyst at the center, said the report revealed federal money would create thousands of trade jobs through expanding union construction apprenticeships leading to quality careers, as electricians, operating engineers, carpenters, and laborers.

"In Pennsylvania, for example, these apprenticeships train workers for jobs that pay more than most college-educated workers earn, and 61% more than the average worker in Pennsylvania," Polson pointed out. "Significantly, this training comes without any student debt."

Polson added Gov. Josh Shapiro wants to use 3% of the federal funds from recently signed climate and infrastructure laws to expand workforce development and apprenticeships. Shapiro's 2023-24 budget includes $6 million for the effort.

Polson noted President Joe Biden's Good Jobs Initiative seeks to embed job quality and equity incentives into the federal funding, to make sure apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeships benefit underserved communities. She called it a huge win all around, for the state, climate, for those communities, and taxpayers.

"We had shared this in the report, research has shown that for every dollar invested in apprenticeship $35 is returned to the government in higher tax collections, or reduced expenditures on public assistance or unemployment over the career of an apprentice," Polson emphasized. "These are huge returns on investments."

Keystone Research Center said the resources will lead to high-wage union construction careers. The center is holding a webinar today at 1 p.m. on construction apprenticeship programs in coal country, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

Disclosure: The Keystone Research Center contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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