BY: G. DAVID SLOAD, ABC KEYSTONE PRESIDENT-CEO
Place yourself back in early 2020, and as May approached, members and staff were looking forward to celebrating the time and efforts that had been expended by the students in our Apprenticeship program. Four years of theory and hands-on training and 8000 hours of on-the-job training was nearing completion. We couldn’t wait to celebrate the accomplishments and hard work of the future of our industry!
Enter COVID-19. Unfortunately, we were forced to postpone our May graduation ceremony. As we watched the weeks pass by, it became apparent that our traditional way of celebrating could not take place this year. The team worked to come up with alternatives to provide a celebration that would give these hard-working students their due recognition. Due to changing regulations and venue limitations, it was a challenging task, and the team has landed on a solution.
We’ve worked to provide our graduates with recognition and will continue to do so:
Throughout the summer, we have been highlighting this year’s class on social media. Please like and share these postings to help celebrate these apprentices.
The August issue of the Merit Shop Spokesman is being dedicated to our graduating class. As you look through this month’s Merit Shop Spokesman, please take note of who these graduating apprentices are and of the variety of accomplishments that have been achieved.
And, YES, we are holding a graduation ceremony!
Thursday, August 13, has been established as the date for Graduation. The event will be held at the ABC Keystone training facility, outside and under the “big top.” We will be limited to the number of people due to the current COVID-19 safety mandates in place and will be staggering attendance at the event by trade. However, we want these individuals to be able to get the recognition they deserve, and this will allow them to have a ceremony while still staying safe.
An important inclusion in each year’s traditional graduation ceremony is thanking and celebrating our apprentices that spent extra time to prepare and compete on behalf of their companies and ABC Keystone at the ABC National Craft Competition (NCC). This year’s competition was to take place in Nashville during March. After the Convention was first postponed from Spring and then moved to August, the situation in Nashville required its complete cancellation. These individuals spent extra evenings and weekends preparing to represent ABC Keystone against the best of the best, and they deserve to be recognized. Join me in thanking Jarrad Fulgenzi, Bradley Gerberich, Sean Herr, Jeremy Spangler and Brandon Thomas for their work and dedication.
The Apprenticeship Class of 2020 will definitely remember their final year at ABC Keystone, including finishing their studies in a virtual environment and the upcoming socially-distanced graduation ceremony. While the year has been non-traditional, in true ABC Keystone tradition, this year’s graduating class represents the best of the industry’s skilled workforce.
Good luck to each and every graduate, and we look forward to following you on your journeys through this great industry we call Construction.
Posted August 6, 2020