Last week, Governor Josh Shapiro announced the formation of the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program (CWTP), a job-training initiative aimed at enhancing the state’s workforce and supporting infrastructure projects. Established by executive order, Shapiro touted the CWTP, as a first-in-the-nation effort designed to leverage up to $400 million in federal funding over the next five years to facilitate workforce development and on-the-job training.
The CWTP is funded through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with Pennsylvania reserving a minimum 3 percent of funds from these acts for workforce training purposes. By providing grants of up to $40,000 per newly trained employee, the CWTP seeks to create new job opportunities for up to 10,000 individuals across critical industries in the Commonwealth.
Through the program, organizations involved in essential infrastructure projects supported by IIJA or IRA funding may receive grants to cover training costs for newly hired personnel. Eligible expenses include wages, training, and payroll taxes, with the option to seek reimbursement for supportive services that remove barriers to employment, such as housing, childcare, and transportation.
Governor Shapiro emphasized that the CWTP is intended to support critical infrastructure work while also prioritizing workplace equity and creating economic opportunities for marginalized communities. The program encourages the hiring of unemployed individuals, formerly incarcerated individuals, and new entrants into the workforce, while also rewarding high workplace standards.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will oversee the management of the CWTP. L&I Secretary Nancy A. Walker highlighted the importance of cultivating a well-trained and responsive workforce to meet labor market demands following the announcement in Pittsburgh.
“Our workforce is the key to Pennsylvania’s economy, and we must find new and creative ways to reach Pennsylvanians who want to work,” Secretary Walker said. “That is exactly what the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program will do.”
Pennsylvania’s CWTP initiative is intended to help address the state’s workforce challenges, and its outcomes may offer valuable insights for other states to follow. More information on the program is expected to be available soon.