By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The United States labor secretary and Gov. Tom Wolf were at the Port of Philadelphia on Thursday, which is now known as PhilaPort. This comes as the U.S. reported its lowest initial jobless claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and there’s an infrastructure deal announced by President Joe Biden that could fund job training programs in the Philadelphia area.

Over the past four years, 40 people have been trained here through the city’s port apprenticeship program, and now this bill could help expand that program even further.

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The mayor hopes it could help with the city’s surging crime rate

“If you get up every morning and be down here by 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning as opposed to being up on the corner at 3 in the morning having nonsense, this is where we got to get them,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Kenney says job training is the key to lowering the city’s crime rate. On Thursday, he toured PhilaPort with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Wolf. They were there to tout the city’s Maritime Training Center which teaches working on the wharf and driving trucks

“$50,000, $70,000 with health benefits, join a union and that’s how we have to approach this problem that we’re facing in many, many different ways — not just policing,” Kenney said.

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If passed by Congress, some of the money included in the president’s infrastructure bill could go to the apprenticeship programs at the port, including immersive and simulator-based courses designed to improve worker safety and productivity.

“We have opportunities, as they talk about expanding the port here and hiring more people, we have opportunities to fund some of the job training that needs to happen,” Walsh said.

As the U.S. announces the lowest initial jobless claims since the start of the pandemic, the governor says businesses will need to get creative in filling new positions

“There’s a whole new perspective on employment and what we need to do to make sure that jobs are attracting people who would like to have jobs,” Wolf said.

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Walsh predicts the supply chain issues the country is facing will improve as people return to work