Employers, unions, and other collaborators will create thousands of jobs, expand Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, and increase recruitment from underserved communities
On Wednesday, First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Augusta and Pittsburgh for Workforce Hub convenings in each city, announcing commitments to equitable workforce development from dozens of Hub collaborators. In May, the Biden-Harris Administration named Augusta and Pittsburgh two of five Workforce Hubs where President Biden’s Investing in America agenda—including the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act—are catalyzing historic private and public investments and creating good-paying jobs. In Augusta and Pittsburgh, and across the country, these investments show how Bidenomics—the President’s vision for growing the economy from the middle out and bottom up—is creating high-quality career opportunities for students and workers.
Key commitments to expand pathways into good jobs from Augusta and Pittsburgh Hub collaborators are below.
Augusta Launches New Registered Apprenticeship Programs and Over $1 Million in Employer Investments in Workforce Pipelines:
Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, Georgia has seen over $37 billion in private investments across new battery and electric vehicle supply chain facilities, clean energy manufacturing, and semiconductors and electronics. These significant economic investments are creating over 27,000 new jobs in Georgia alone.
To meet this accelerated demand, Augusta needs a diverse pipeline of skilled workers. That’s why Mayor Garnett Johnson and the Augusta Workforce Hub’s three anchor institutions—Augusta Technical College, Aiken Technical College, and the Richmond County School System—have catalyzed a series of new partnerships and deepened existing collaborations that will connect a broad range of people in the region to good-quality careers.
First, five major regional employers are committing to actions that will develop the workforce:
- Solvay Specialty Polymers is investing $1 million to support local workforce development, including creating a mobile learning unit to expand training opportunities to job seekers across the Central Savannah River Area. Solvay received a $178 million grant funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law from the Department of Energy to build a new battery manufacturing plant that will supply materials for more than 5 million EV batteries per year.
- Aurubis, a German-based multi-metal producing company, committed to supporting 200 good-quality jobs and signing a community benefit agreement with the Hub’s three anchor institutions to invest more than $200,000 in scholarship and job training programs for young workers, hiring from the local workforce when possible, and launching the first U.S. chapter of Women4Metals, an empowerment initiative for women in the metals industry. Aurubis doubled its investment in Augusta to $700 million in December 2022 to expand their manufacturing facility, thanks to the booming recycling market in the United States. Aurubis’s U.S. growth and investment—accelerated by the Inflation Reduction Act—are helping position the Southeast as a leading EV ecosystem.
- Manus, a synthetic biology company, has committed to developing a robust local biomanufacturing workforce by partnering with Augusta Technical College and the Richmond County School System to create and expand programming for process engineering, operations, maintenance, and construction, including creating a dedicated dual enrollment program.
- Savannah River Site (SRS) will double the size of its youth apprenticeship program in the next year, as well as expanding its SRS Introduce a Girl to Engineering program by 25 percent. SRS is also committed to developing a consortium with the Augusta Building and Trades Council and area K-12 schools dedicated to expanding career opportunities in the nuclear industry by fall 2024.
- Kubota, an equipment manufacturing firm, will use earn-and-learn opportunities including paid internships, and partnerships with technical schools, high schools, and universities on certificate, diploma, degree programs, and adult education across every area of its business, including to create a cyber-resilient workforce to secure Kubota’s advanced manufacturing systems. Kubota made $457 million in facility investments in the last year and announced plans to fill over 1,300 new jobs in Georgia and Kansas.
- The Battelle Savannah River Alliance, which operates the Savannah River National Laboratory, is investing $125,000 to create K-12 Catalyst STEM Grants to advance programs and activities related to STEM education in Central Savannah River Area schools.
Second, major regional training providers are expanding programs for skill development in occupations related to clean energy manufacturing, nuclear energy, construction, cyber, and the development of key next-generation technologies for advanced manufacturing:
- Augusta Technical College is announcing two new Registered Apprenticeship programs—one with SRS to provide nuclear technician degrees and another with the United Association Local 150 Plumbers and Steamfitters—each with a goal of supporting 20-30 students at launch and reaching 100 apprenticeships in three years, with specific outreach to and recruitment of underrepresented populations.
- Aiken Technical College is committing to expanding enrollment in its energy-sector Registered Apprenticeship program, in partnership with the SRS, to 200 students by January 2024, an increase of 1900 percent since the program began in 2020.
- Aiken Technical College and Augusta Technical College will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Augusta Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents 22 local skilled trades unions across 17 trades. The MOU outlines numerous shared objectives, including having representatives of the Trades Council serve on the institutions’ Technical Advisory Committee for three years and creating a seamless transition between pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship by better preparing students for entry into union apprenticeship programs.
- The Richmond County School System will sign a similar MOU with the Augusta Building and Construction Trades Council, including co-developing a pre-apprenticeship program that will serve an estimated 30 students per year with direct or preferential entry to construction Registered Apprenticeship programs as well as wraparound student support services including career awareness activities in classrooms, field trips and demonstrations, and training and materials for guidance counselors/career navigators.
- Augusta University will leverage a $1 million Regional Innovation Engines Development award from the National Science Foundation to catalyze local academic and industry partnerships around a growing regional cyber workforce, including supporting expanded training and internship opportunities and transitioning research to practice to foster creation of new businesses, especially minority- and veteran-owned businesses.
Third, a wide array of regional stakeholders will collaborate to help address systemic workforce barriers:
- Grounded.org is launching a new philanthropic initiative—the TradesForce campaign—to boost workforce recruitment for the clean energy trades and training programs in Augusta and the other Workforce Hubs. Collaborating with Social Good Club—a network of over 400 top creators with a collective reach of over 600 million people—is actively uniting influencers, industry, and labor partners to promote clean energy trades, prioritizing the inclusion of underrepresented communities such as women, youth, and people of color. They have also partnered with Climatebase to develop a groundbreaking centralized platform that will directly link workers to clean energy training opportunities.
- The Augusta Department of Transportation is announcing a new $300,000 investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to study the use of microtransit to increase access to jobs at manufacturing and training sites. Lyft also announced a new partnership with the Augusta-Richmond County Mayor’s Office, the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area, and Indeed to provide funding for rides to and from clean energy and manufacturing jobs coming to Augusta as a result of the President’s Investing in America agenda.
- Augusta Technical College is committing to expanding its partnership with the Augusta District Attorney’s Office and Richmond County Correctional Facility to provide skilled trades training for more than three dozen people in incarceration facilities over the next year, providing inclusive opportunities for all workers in the region to participate in the clean energy boom.
Pittsburgh Will Create Over 1,000 New Jobs and Expand Apprenticeship Programs in Industries Spurred by the Investing in America Agenda:
Led by Mayor Ed Gainey and Partner4Work, the workforce development board for the Pittsburgh area, the Pittsburgh Workforce Hub is focused on creating equitable career pathways in four key sectors— infrastructure, advanced manufacturing (including robotics and biomanufacturing), high-speed internet, and clean energy—as well as occupations that support these sectors (e.g., cybersecurity).
To guide the Hub’s work, the City developed the Pittsburgh Good Jobs Principles, a set of principles for job quality, equity, and worker empowerment that build on Biden-Harris Administration’s Good Jobs Principles. The Pittsburgh Principles are driving concrete actions and new partnerships to ensure local workers—particularly disadvantaged workers and residents of high-need communities—can access good jobs with family-sustaining wages, high-quality training like Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, and critical supportive services like child care and transportation.
First, employers will create more than 1,000 good jobs for residents of the Pittsburgh region. This includes:
- Re:Build Manufacturing will hire 300 new employees in the next three years for its advanced manufacturing investments supported by the American Rescue Plan, and will partner with local workforce boards, career pathways programs, local technical schools and colleges to provide skill development opportunities for a diverse array of job seekers.
- Module, a builder of affordable modular homes, will create up to 50 direct jobs over the next four years at its new “last mile” facility in Allegheny County. To fill these jobs, Module will expand its construction training program focused on finishing and installing modular homes, which trains individuals with barriers to employment.
- The Pittsburgh Flag of the U.S. Navy Talent Pipeline Program, which works with manufacturers to increase industrial capacity in regions with a significant defense footprint, will assist up to 50 regional manufacturers per year to improve their ability to recruit, hire, onboard, and retain workers in good jobs. Employer partners have pledged to hire more than 350 manufacturing and other skilled trades positions by May 2024, partnering with local career and technical education programs on recruitment.
- Eos Energy Enterprises will hire an additional 650 individuals in quality jobs in advanced manufacturing and clean energy upon the successful financing and completion of its Project AMAZE in 2026 by engaging with American Job Centers, K-12 school districts, community colleges, and other partners—and is developing a community benefits plan to ensure that its growth benefits its workers and the surrounding communities in areas like housing, transportation, energy stability, and workforce development.
Second, education and training organizations will expand pre-apprenticeships, Registered Apprenticeships, and other earn-and-learn training opportunities to more than 500 additional workers next year alone, including:
- Partner4Work will scale its successful 4Construction pre-apprenticeship training model to at least three new project sites in 2024, serving up to 80 additional people. 4Construction provides participants with direct entry into union Registered Apprenticeships and robust supportive services. One new site will begin planning in 2024 is the City of Pittsburgh’s New Pathways to Equity project funded by the RAISE grant program, expanded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in the Hill District.
- The Pittsburgh Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce and its employer members will launch a new electric vehicle (EV) technician registered apprenticeship program, while doubling enrollment in four registered apprenticeship programs—mechatronics technician, polymer technology process technician, sales engineer, and CAD/CAM technical designer—to serve 50 apprentices annually over the next five years.
- Parkway West Career and Technology Center is raising additional funds to construct a new building in partnership with the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers (BAC) Local 9. The building will house a new program of study in masonry, preparing 20 high school students per year for direct entry into BAC Registered Apprenticeships. Parkway West will also train 80 students per year in a cybersecurity registered apprenticeship program, connecting them to cybersecurity jobs in the region.
- Pittsburgh Gateways will work with at least 30 local clean energy employers to build sustainable talent pipelines—leveraging the resources of Pittsburgh’s Energy Innovation Center and community partners—and will prepare at least 50 skilled construction workers for family-sustaining careers through the Intro to the Trades pre-apprenticeship program.
- Eaton—an intelligent power management company whose work crosses advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and infrastructure—will offer paid co-op and internship opportunities with hands-on training in cybersecurity, and will invest $100,000 over the next three years in Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) CyLab Security and Privacy Institute to support multi-disciplinary cybersecurity research and education, building on its existing $350,000 investment.
- Using a $3.75 million Department of Labor Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant, Partner4Work, the Pittsburgh Tech Council, the German American Chamber of Commerce, and other partners will create and scale Registered Apprenticeship programs in technology and advanced manufacturing to support 300 apprentices in the clean energy, transportation, and broadband infrastructure sectors.
Third, local education institutions will develop pathways into robotics, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing. For instance:
- The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) expects to train at least 50 students in advanced manufacturing, building automation systems, and cybersecurity programs in the next year at its recently opened Center for Education, Innovation, and Training, which was completed using funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
- The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security will help build a strong pipeline of cybersecurity professionals by training over 500 high school students in cybersecurity basics, ethics, and career opportunities by 2028.
- The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute will also leverage a new grant from the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology Program to expose more school-age children in the Pittsburgh region to manufacturing careers, by funding local nonprofit STEM Coding Lab to deliver robotics education to Pittsburgh-area Title I schools and expanding Manufacturing Day programs into rural areas.
Finally, training providers, philanthropies, and other collaborators will remove barriers to employment and expand recruitment in underserved communities, including:
- ARM and New Century Careers have launched a rapid employer-driven training program to help at least 40 dislocated workers per year to re-enter the workforce in good-quality, high-demand manufacturing jobs—and will connect workers and employers through roboticscareer.org, a new resource for robotics training and employment opportunities in Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond.
- The University of Pittsburgh will secure 20 Early Head Start slots at a new early childhood care facility, serving both neighborhood residents and employees at entities in Hazelwood Green, a former brownfield transformed into a life science and technology development.
- New Century Careers will expand access to advanced manufacturing training in high-need neighborhoods in Pittsburgh in 2024—expanding its existing programming by 50 percent—with a key focus on preparing job seekers for 3D/additive and robotics careers.