Robinson Questions Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Advocates Apprenticeships

HARRISBURG – The Senate Appropriations Committee continued with budget hearings today and hosted the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to review Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposal of $89.8 million for the department, according to Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-37).

“As chair of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I appreciated today’s insightful discussion on funding for our state’s unemployment compensation system, enforcement of labor laws, and workforce development programs,” Robinson said. “I had the opportunity to question the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry on a variety of topics, such as apprenticeship programs and manufacturing, to learn how our taxpayer money is spent.”

Shapiro’s budget proposal includes a request to reauthorize the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund (SIIF), which was created to improve the quality, efficiency and timeliness of services provided by the unemployment compensation service centers.

“I am glad to hear the department is continuing to hire staff to assist individuals with filing unemployment claims and work through adjudication backlogs,” Robinson said. “I look forward to working with the department to stabilize the unemployment compensation system so my constituents receive the services they deserve.”

Additionally, the budget proposal includes a $2.5 million, or 33.3% increase in spending for pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship opportunities. The department intends to use additional funds to foster partnerships between career and technical education students and employers with grant programs.

“I am a strong supporter of the apprenticeship training model as a cost-effective way to develop our future workforce,” Robinson said. “In my community, I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact of apprenticeship programs, particularly in the building trades, to start young workers on a path to family-sustaining careers.”

Responding to Robinson’s request for additional information about the proposed grant programs, the department explained the additional funding will go toward the PAsmart and Schools-To-Work programs to match potential workers with employers. Additionally, the department indicated it is exploring nontraditional apprenticeship options, including in the energy and health fields, to match industry demands.

Robinson later brought up a successful layoff aversion initiative that has benefited his region. “The Strategic Early Warning Network program is important to workers in my district and highly cost-effective,” Robinson said. “I am pleased to learn the department will continue to support this successful program, and I thank the Steel Valley Authority for its hard work in saving local jobs and businesses.”

Senate budget hearings run through April 14. Robinson will continue participating in the Senate budget hearings and remains committed to passing a conservative, fiscally responsible spending plan that strengthens Pennsylvania.

Watch today’s Senate budget hearing with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry here.

The hearings schedule, livestreams, daily recaps and video from prior hearings can be found at



Eric Kratz

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