By: Stephanie Larkin, Director of Education, Safety & Workforce Development

You’ve likely read recent stories from ABC Keystone Chapter about how there’s a new articulation agreement between a school and ABC’s registered apprenticeship program.

What does that even mean? How does it happen? And why should you care?

It’s safe to say that many educational entities weren’t familiar with ABC Keystone and the education provided within the training facility. Schools were focused on preparing students for college because that’s the metric which, for many years, was the only one that counted. ABC, for its part, was focused on its many priorities and wasn’t spending as much time doing direct outreach to the schools.

The paradigm shifted when the industry faced a huge worker deficit and realized the need to more quickly find and educate additional tradespeople. At the same time, schools were being asked to consider both college AND career readiness and create new pathways for their students who didn’t wish to go to college or wanted to enter employment right from high school.

ABC Keystone is dedicating significant resources and effort to develop partnerships with area K-12 schools and career and technical centers, as well as community-based organizations, that will result in articulation agreements between the organizations and credit for students entering registered apprenticeship.

“An articulation agreement is an officially approved
agreement that matches coursework between schools.”

There’s a process involved in creating these agreements, and it begins with building relationships. ABC staff now perform ongoing outreach to a list of over 700 high school contacts consisting of guidance, technical education teachers, administrators and pathways coordinators. In turn, ABC receives requests for building tours, invitations to career fairs, visits schools and shares information on registered apprenticeship programming and a career in the skilled trades. ABC staff spend time meeting with guidance counselors to help them effectively share the message of trades education with students and parents. We host tours of counselors, educators and often, school administrators, to show them our program. And it works. Schools are developing an interest in partnership.

The next step in the process is comparing curriculum. Does the school or organization have a trades curriculum in place, and, if so, is it comparable to ABC Keystone’s curriculum? A quick gap analysis determines whether the programming is comparable and where gaps exist.

After considering programming gaps, instructor qualifications, and whether education will take place in the home school or at ABC Keystone, it comes down to drafting an articulation agreement. ABC Keystone maintains an articulation template that formally discusses the partners, the curriculum being used, and attendance and grade requirements. Most importantly, it states the amount of credit provided to a student who enrolls in registered apprenticeship programming at ABC Keystone.

ABC Keystone currently has articulation agreements in place with nine entities:

Educational Entity Credit Granted
Berks Country Career and Technical Center 1 year
Cumberland-Perry Area Vocational Technical School 1 year
Harrisburg Area Community College 1 year (certificate)

2 years (associates)

Insight PA Cyber Charter School 6 months
The Janus School 6 months
Lancaster County Career and Technical Center 1 year
Penn College of Technology 2 years
School District of Lancaster 6 months
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology 6 months (certificate)

2 years (associates)

– As of March 18, 2019

Articulation is mutually beneficial. Schools can provide a pathway for students that aren’t interested in college. Students are more employable and get credit towards registered apprenticeship. ABC Keystone employer members have a larger pool of trades candidates to fill open positions and pay less in tuition for those students coming from a partnering school.

March 29, 2019