Harkins, Merski: $90,000 grant to bolster apprenticeship opportunities

ERIE, Aug. 16 – Building upon their already solidified pro-labor record, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today that a $90,000 grant has been awarded to Steamfitters Local 449.

The grant aims to broaden the registered apprenticeship program by hiring 25 new apprenticeships with the underlying goal of ensuring long-term systemic change. Additionally, the program will update Steamfitter Local 449's affirmative action plan and implement a new diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.

“Throughout my time being a legislator, I have worked closely with Steamfitters Local 449 to advance and enhance the life-changing opportunities they provide for so many in our region,” Harkins said. “I am thrilled they are continuing to create pathways that provide an upward trajectory to a successful career.”

Merski said, “The building trades are a pathway to the American dream. This funding will provide opportunities so more people have access to the trades by garnering the skills they need for middle-class, family-sustaining jobs. Enabling underrepresented communities access to this training is a goal worthy of our support. When we build people up, we build our community as well.”

The grant was federally funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.