WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded news the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has selected the Greater Oh-Penn Manufacturing Apprenticeship Network to receive funding through DOL’s American Apprenticeship Grant program. In April, Brown wrote to the DOL in support of the nearly $3 million award for the Oh-Penn Interstate Region – which serves Ohio’s Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Mahoning, Portage, and Trumbull Counties.

“Local companies and manufacturers have jobs to fill – but they need workers with the specific skills and training that will help them grow their business,” said Brown. “The Oh-Penn Interstate Region is working with local entities to help address the skills gap in advanced manufacturing and other industries and connect Ohioans with jobs. With this grant from the Department of Labor, the Greater Oh-Penn Manufacturing Apprenticeship Network and its partners will be better equipped to link prospective employees with training and apprenticeships that will help them land good-paying jobs.”

The Greater Oh-Penn Manufacturing Apprenticeship Network – led by Ohio’s Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and by Pennsylvania’s West Central Job Partnership – is comprised of five industry-led sector partnerships in Ohio and Pennsylvania including: Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, Erie Regional Manufacturer Partnership, Advanced Materials and Diversified Manufacturing Industry Partnership of Lawrence & Mercer Counties (PA), Advanced Materials and Diversified Manufacturing Industry Partnership in Northwest PA, and the Portage County Manufacturers Coalition. Additional partners include: Workforce Investment Areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the Ohio Apprenticeship Council, the PA Department of Labor & Industry, and local colleges, universities, and career and technical centers.

The Network will receive $2,998,625 to help manufacturers in the greater Ohio-Pennsylvania Interstate Region increase their ability to find highly-skilled, credentialed employees and adopt the apprenticeship model. This will help increase manufacturing apprenticeships, provide for better recruitment of workers, and boost technical instruction by community colleges.

The American Apprenticeship Grant program will award $175 million in grant funding nationwide to help train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries as diverse as health care, IT, and advanced manufacturing while scaling up proven programs in construction, transportation and energy in the next five years.

Brown is working to help ensure that all Ohioans are prepared to enter the workforce through sectors-based skills training. In July 2014, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), legislation that contains provisions modeled after Brown’s Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act that would help dislocated workers train for high-tech jobs in their region. The SECTORS Act provisions will promote and require sector-based partnerships to ensure that workforce training programs are developed with industry input and tailored to meet companies’ workforce needs.

Brown’s letter of support from April is available below.                                          


April 29, 2015


United States Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Office of Grants Management
Attention: Sara Gallagher-Williams, Grant Officer
Reference: FOA-ETA-15-02
200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N4716
Washington, D.C., 20210


Dear Ms. Gallagher-Williams,

As the U.S. Department of Labor considers applications for the American Apprenticeship Initiative program, we would like to bring your attention to the application submitted by the fourteen-county Greater Ohio-Penn Interstate region.

The Oh-Penn Interstate Region is a five-county, interstate region that has implemented business-led, collective impact strategies to address the skills gap in the advanced manufacturing sector. The Greater Oh-Penn American Apprenticeship Initiative would expand the region to include fourteen counties in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The Initiative would build upon established public and private sector collaboration and provide opportunities to accelerate talent development in the region, which would encourage manufacturers to locate or expand, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen the middle-class.

Strengthening partnerships between businesses, Career and Technical Education Centers, community colleges and other service providers, would not only address the skills gap, but also demonstrate the value of apprenticeships to manufacturers within the targeted region, and change perceptions of manufacturers through peer-to-peer outreach.

The Greater Oh-Penn region will train at least 300 apprentices over the course of this five-year project, providing a strong foundation for American Apprenticeship expansion in years to come Through the American Apprenticeship Initiative program, the Greater Oh-Penn region will ensure high rates of apprentice completion and success, expedite time to completion, and provide a foundation for sustainability.

We ask that you please give this grant proposal full and fair consideration when reviewing submissions for this program.



Sherrod Brown

United States Senator