Bizzarro announces more than $100K in state funding for Erie County workforce programs, apprenticeships

Grants aimed at enhancing region’s workforce, increasing apprentice opportunities

ERIE, Aug. 17 – Job seekers in Erie County will have access to programs to help improve their job searches and increase their ability to maintain new jobs thanks to a pair of grants announced by state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro Thursday. Two Erie County projects have been approved for state funding through the Digital Literacy and Workforce Development grant program.

“One of the first steps to self-sufficiency is landing a job,” Bizzarro said. “People who are actively searching for jobs should have access to the tools that not only let them find the best employment opportunities in Erie County but also allow them to be successful when given their next opportunity. I’m glad to see the state providing the funding needed to help improve our county and state’s skilled workforce.”

The two programs in Erie County approved for funding include:

  • Greater Erie Community Action Committee: The project will educate workers on digital fundamentals and job-seeking support. The program will offer lessons on typing, Excel, PowerPoint, email, video conferencing, PDF creation and editing, document organization, scanning and printing documents, safe internet use, seeking and filling out online applications, resume and cover letter creation and attachment to applications.
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants/Erie Field Office: The project will provide linguistic and cultural instruction for a minimum of 120 refugees who have been in the U.S. for fewer than five years. The program will include formal instruction and open lab time, with four curriculum units of specific benefit to newly arrived refugees.

Most of the approved programs announced by the state will receive $45,000 in funding.

The Department of Labor & Industry also announced $90,000 in grant funding for apprenticeships in Erie County and 14 other counties in the region through Steamfitters Local 449 this week. The funding will allow the expansion of 25 new apprentices and update its equity and inclusion strategy.

“When we talk about the importance in improving Pennsylvania’s workforce, we need to prioritize apprentice opportunities – for everyone,” Bizzarro said. “It’s just one way to increase the number of skilled workers in our labor force and lay the groundwork for the commonwealth’s success going forward.”

This week’s announcements continue Bizzarro’s efforts to allocate state money to help improve roads, schools, nonprofits, emergency services and local businesses in his district and Erie County. So far this year, Bizzarro has helped secure about $13 million for Erie County projects – including more than $4.1 million this week.