ARC’s POWER Initiative has invested millions to connect students and workers in coal-impacted communities with in-demand, high-growth industries. One such sector, semiconductor manufacturing, has been experiencing a global shortage since the COVID-19 pandemic. This has impacted the production of everything from home appliances and smart phones, to car keys and other everyday electronic goods. The CHIPS & Science Act of 2022, which aims bolster America’s technology manufacturing capacity, has further increased demand for semiconductor manufacturing professionals.
In Appalachian Pennsylvania, where 67% of counties are coal-producing and feeling the effects of economic transition, the global shortage and resulting legislation provide a critical opportunity. That’s why Tri-County Workforce Investment Board (TCWIB) received a $1.4 million ARC POWER award to create a pipeline of skilled Appalachian workers to support the semiconductor manufacturing industry.
A Direct Path for Displaced Workers
TCWIB will partner with the Steamfitters Local Union 449 to offer free training for workers in 15 coal-impacted counties for sustaining careers in semiconductor manufacturing, as well as the high-demand sectors of HVAC-R services, building information modeling, and welding processes.
This is a much-needed partnership, as the closure of several coal power plants including Hatfield’s Ferry Power Station, First Energy Mitchell Power Station, DTE Energy, Erie Coke Corporation, and Cheswick Generating Station have had devastating economic effects on families and communities.
The program expects to recruit and train up to 550 workers at the Steamfitters’ 570,000-square-foot facility in Harmony, PA. Course offerings will consist of five modules, each ranging in duration from 16 hours to 18 weeks. Upon completion, participants will immediately be employment ready with industry-recognized skills. Several local and regional manufacturers have a presence with the facility, further aiding in quick employment for program graduates.
“The Tri-County Workforce Investment Board and the Steamfitters Local Union 449 are grateful to ARC for investing in the local area to give workers needed skills to have family sustaining wages,” said Tri-County Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Mary Salony. “In addition, this will draw more semiconductor industry employers to the region to increase the number of jobs in the entire region.”
ARC is proud to partner with TCWIB and Steamfitters Local Union 449 as they launch this this much-needed training program. It will not only help displaced coal plant workers capitalize on their existing knowledge and skills, but will allow Appalachia to compete on a global level by meeting widespread need for semiconductor manufacturing and products.
Learn more about the $54 million ARC’s POWER Initiative awarded to coal-impacted communities in October 2023. This is the largest single POWER investment package since the initiative’s launch in 2015.