By: Stephanie Larkin, Vice President of Education, Safety & Workforce Development

October may be Careers in Construction Month, but at ABC Keystone, every month is Careers in Construction Month! With the consolidation of the ABC Central PA Chapter into ABC Keystone Chapter, our outreach efforts extend to 33 counties, nearly 25 career and technical schools, and more than 210 school districts. We’ve started the process of introducing ABC Keystone and its programs to career and technical centers first, and those conversations have yielded one new articulation agreement with Mifflin County Academy of Science & Technology (The Academy) in Lewistown and two potential agreements with both the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center and the Central Pennsylvania Institute in Bellefonte. Every articulation agreement gives you, the members, access to young talent as these individuals pursue their careers and apprenticeships.

Another very viable source of much needed talent is citizens returning from incarceration. The Workforce Development Committee is sponsoring a series of reentry forums to educate members on the issues and opportunities surrounding this population. Our second event was Tuesday, September 27, where a panel of human resource, legal and reentry professionals discussed background checks. Our October panel will focus on the incentives available to employers who hire returning citizens, and our November panel features Kurt Danysh, who will share his firsthand experience as a person with a criminal background. In December, we complete our series by discussing remedies available to returning citizens to help them overcome barriers associated with their criminal background. These free forums do require registration, so please visit the ABC Keystone calendar to sign up.

ABC Keystone has been asked to partner on two new workforce development initiatives. First, the Marshall Math Science Academy in Harrisburg has asked for our guidance and support on their first-ever Construction Club, which will give their students a chance to experience the trades in a hands-on lab. Our instructional staff created drawings and a materials list for the club project, and the school is securing material donations. We hope to have local contractor support to mentor students and pique their interest in a construction career. Next, we were approached by the Dauphin County Community & Economic Development office to join in a grant proposal that will train ex-offenders in our pre-apprenticeship program and support them through community partner programs. If awarded, the work will commence in 2023 and run for one year. We’re very excited to have this opportunity and a new partnership. Every connection counts!

We will welcome a new group of more than 200 students to Construction Wars on October 11, 12 and 13. If you’ve not yet volunteered your time or resources through sponsoring the event, I encourage you to consider it. What a fun way to share your passion and your knowledge, and hopefully, change the course of someone’s future. Information can be found on our website.

Posted October 6, 2022