PWDA & PACTA Release “State of Apprenticeships” in Pennsylvania 

Survey of Apprenticeship Leaders Find PA Needs More Investment in Apprenticeships, Shorten Approval Times 

Harrisburg, PA: Today, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA) and the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators (PACTA) released a briefing on Pennsylvania’s “State of Apprenticeships” that the organizations developed through conversations with stakeholders and participants following the 2023 ApprenticeshipPA Collaborative & Expo. The brief summarizes the town hall discussions and provides insight from employers with particular emphasis on the manufacturing industry, educators & training providers, labor organizations, workforce development professionals, and apprenticeship experts.

“Apprenticeship provides tangible opportunities for Pennsylvania students, job seekers, and workers to find and keep sustainable employment and for Pennsylvania employers to find and keep skilled talent,” said Carrie Amann, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association. “Pennsylvania’s strategic priorities to invest in and expand apprenticeship is critical. The ability for a worker to be employed with access to sustainable wages and growth potential while ensuring they have the right skills and abilities to perform their duties effectively is the basic principle for apprenticeships.” 

“In 2023, a key component of ApprenticeshipPA were town halls to hear from apprenticeship experts, interested parties, and stakeholders to provide insight into apprenticeship programs in the Commonwealth,” said John Pulver, Executive Director of PACTA. “We know that we need to identify what works, what barriers exist, and how to make sure apprenticeships in Pennsylvania serve the needs of workers and employers.

The brief found that there is power in collaboration. All stakeholder groups valued the connection to regional intermediaries such as the Keystone Apprenticeship Alliance and ApprenticeshipPHL. The group sponsors approach also provides scalable progress for expanding apprenticeships for small and medium-sized businesses. 

Respondents say apprenticeship is the only viable solution to our workforce shortages and skills gaps if employers adopt it. The process of getting a registered program developed and approved takes too long. Employers report a 1-3 year-long registration process for apprenticeships. 

There are three important next steps for policymakers and practitioners:

  1. We need to shift all apprenticeships into a jobs-first approach. Embedding a “learning by doing” model in the workplace is a win/win for workers and employers.
  2. There needs to be more transparency to shed light and redesign the registration, application development, and approval process for apprenticeships.
  3. We need to invest in what’s working. We must scale regional intermediaries and group activities that expand programs and the number of apprentices.

The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA) serves as the voice of the Pennsylvania workforce development system and a clearinghouse for workforce development information statewide. Known for Pennsylvania’s premier annual workforce development gathering every spring, we provide development and capacity building opportunities to workforce development professionals, local workforce development boards (WDBs), and other stakeholders while continuing proactive advocacy efforts on behalf of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system. Learn more by visiting

The Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators strives to promote excellence in career and technical education through leadership, advocacy and service. Learn more by visiting

# # # 

# # #