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Southeast PA Region Apprenticeship Initiative: Pathways for Opportunity Youth in Information Technology and Behavioral Health Careers

The Southeast PA Regional Apprenticeship Initiative offers opportunity youth – those age 16 to 24 who are neither in-school nor working – the ability to train in two high-demand career fields through apprenticeships with area businesses. As a collaborative effort between five counties comprising the Southeast Pennsylvania (SEPA) Region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia), Philadelphia Works is the project leader for this effort, whose goals are to:

  1. Expand existing apprenticeships in high-growth industries to engage multiple employers.
  2. Build standardized, employer-validated pre-apprenticeship curricula that will be replicated across opportunity-youth-serving employment and training programs.
  3. Create an oversight structure to ensure opportunity-youth-serving systems alignment.

This $2.9 million grant creates a valuable talent pool for employers like Jarvus and Springboard Media, both of which were among the first employers to sign on to the program, as well as creating career pathways for up to 500 youth over the five year grant period, becoming trained for jobs in information technology as CSS and IT Specialists, and as Behavioral Health Technicians.

The curricula for pre-apprenticeship training has been standardized and validated by employers, ensuring that apprentices have the foundational skills needed when they enter the apprenticeship with a participating business. The curricula are publicly available and can by adopted by educational partners for career technical education, out of school youth, or TANF employment and training programs.

Learn more and get involved by calling 215-963-2100.  

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Apprenticeship Initiatives

This $2.9 million grant will create opportunity for employers like Jarvus and Springboard Media to hire apprentices like Haomin Tian. Five hundred youth will enter IT and behavioral health apprenticeships over five years.


Apprenticeship Partner Spotlight: District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund

The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund’s mission is to provide access to career pathways in healthcare and human services through education, training, and work-based learning.  Created in 1974 by collective bargaining agreements between District 1199C of the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees (NUHHCE) and 11 Philadelphia hospitals, the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund (Training Fund) has grown to include more than 50 acute care hospitals, long term care and behavioral health facilities, and home care agencies.

Today, the Training Fund serves over 4,000 students annually at the 35,000-square foot Breslin Learning Center in Center City Philadelphia. The Training Fund’s student-centered approach to education and training incorporates individualized career coaching and case management to help individuals obtain the educational credentials and professional certifications they will need to achieve their academic and career goals. All Training Fund programs are designed on an integrated educational model that advances students towards their academic and career goals simultaneously, incorporating contextualized workforce preparation into academic courses and literacy supports into occupational courses.

With support from the American Apprenticeship Initiative grant and Philadelphia Works, the Training Fund, along with EDSI – a national workforce development and consulting organization – jointly developed and completed a pre-apprenticeship curriculum that aligns with regional behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disability industry standards and Registered Apprenticeship programs.  The employer-validated pre-apprenticeship curriculum for Direct Support Professional (DSP) and similar direct care occupations focuses on opportunity youth – young people aged 18-24 who are out of work and out of school – as program participants.  This pre-apprenticeship program will connect participants to Registered Apprenticeship programs as DSPs.  The program will last approximately 6 weeks ensuring participants are adequately prepared to enter into a Registered Apprenticeship program.  The curriculum emphasizes industry and career exposure through activity-, project-, and work-based learning, as well as other instructional elements to help participants build and demonstrate DSP job competencies.  In addition, content regarding skills needed for workplace success, extensive career pathway exploration, technology competency, job readiness, and driver’s education have been added to ensure students have the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully enter and complete a Registered Apprenticeship program.  Thirty students are currently working their way through the program with completion dates expected in June 2017. 

Other goals of the curriculum include, but are not limited to:

  • Build general workplace and personal effectiveness competency areas relevant to the behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disability sectors/soft skills including: teamwork, customer/consumer focus, planning and organizing, problem solving and decision making, integrity, professionalism, adaptability and flexibility and dependability and reliability
  • Gain important understanding and hands-on career exposure via mentor, job shadowing opportunities, panel discussion with workers and employers in the field
  • Develop essential job readiness and academic study skills necessary to be successful including resume writing, effective interview practices and time management.
  • Identify real work application of behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disability concepts and skills including working in a team and identifying and handling workplace issues.

Aside from operating the pre-apprenticeship program, the Training Fund will also manage and provide related technical instruction (RTI) to a number of Registered Apprenticeship programs through the American Apprenticeship Initiative.  The Training Fund partnered with JEVS Human Services and the American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSMCE) District Council 47, Local 1739 union to develop and register a DSP Registered Apprenticeship program.  The Training Fund also partnered with SPIN and AFSMCE District Council 47, Local 1739 union to develop and register a DSP Registered Apprenticeship program, as well as becoming the program sponsor for a group, non-joint DSP Registered Apprenticeship program with Community Behavioral Health (CBH) and Philadelphia Mental Health Care Corporation (PMHCC) through a partnership with the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.  Apprentices in these programs will receive on-the-job learning (OJL) from assigned mentors at each employer and RTI from the Training Fund and Philadelphia University, which will result in 24 college credits at the completion of the Registered Apprenticeship program.  In addition, the Training Fund will conduct trainings and provide support for mentors in the program competencies and apprentice coaching model.


Figure 2: Eric Ramsay, Director of Apprenticeship and Training Office (PA Department of Labor & Industry) and Mike Schurr, Council Chair present newly appointed Registered Apprenticeships their certificates.


Congratulations to the following newly approved Registered Apprenticeship programs! 

*If you would like to download a complete listing of Registered Apprenticeships in the SEPA region, click here.  Please note – Although this list will be updated regularly, we cannot guarantee that all Registered Apprenticeships listed are active/accepting new apprentices at this time. 

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Questions about Registered Apprenticeship?

Mark Genua

Apprenticeship Program Director


Phone:  215.854.1988