Pa. labor secretary visits Philly laborers union pre-apprenticeship program

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Laborers Union got to show off its pre-apprenticeship program this week, when Pennsylvania's Secretary of Labor paid a visit.

Labor Secretary Jennifer Berrier seemed impressed by the university-like lecture hall, fitted with high-tech teaching tools, where the union's pre-apprentices get prepared to move up the union ranks.

The program allows the union to recruit from under-represented groups, which has helped increase diversity in the building trades, unions that were long known for shutting out women and non-white workers.

"I'm proud to lead the Philadelphia building trades and laborers district council into a new day where diversity and inclusion is indeed part of our mission statement," said laborers leader Ryan Boyer, now the head of the city's building trade council.

The occasion for the tour was the announcement that the laborers were among the recipients of $5 million in state grants for training programs like theirs.

It's not the only workforce development program to get good news this week. The Biden administration awarded $22.8 million for training programs to Philadelphia Works, the city's chief workforce development nonprofit.

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