Workforce Development Update ABC Keystone


By the time you read this article, you may have figured out February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month. Though not in the league with other holidays like “National Donut Day” (which is June 4, 2021 – mark your calendars), without CTE your company and the construction industry would not survive.

CTE provides core academic skills, employability skills and technical, job-specific skills. In Pennsylvania, CTE is offered through high schools, career and technology centers, community colleges, and even some four-year institutions of higher education. Good CTE programs have established partnerships between high school and postsecondary education. The one thing all programs have in common is that they apply what students are learning to the needs of area employers. Another thing CTE programs have in common is that they work. In Pennsylvania, data shows that 99% of secondary students with a CTE concentration graduated, and 93% of postsecondary CTE concentrators went on to the workforce, the military or an apprenticeship. (ACTE, 2020)

In the ABC Keystone Chapter footprint, we benefit from having nine CTCs, 10 high schools that offer ABC-articulated CTE programming, and nearby, Penn College of Technology. Why is our proximity to these institutions important? We have connections with these organizations, and all these entities feed our registered apprenticeship program and provide your companies with the ongoing stream of young talent that you so desperately need.

It’s easiest to think of how these entities connect with ABC Keystone if you view it from a student’s perspective. The student is on a path to their career. They may first hear about construction in middle school by coming to ABC Keystone’s Construction Wars event where they build projects and learn what it means to go to CTC.

In high school, they may follow through and get into a construction program at a CTC or join a trades class associated with ABC Keystone. Maybe they will hear more about opportunities in the industry by touring our building or hearing from ABC staff at a career event.

By the time they leave high school, we hope to have captured their attention and interest, so they might apply to our registered apprenticeship program and get credit for what they’ve already learned. At this point, ABC Keystone facilitates their connection to you, the member. Once a journeyperson, they may attend safety training or take a leadership development course. At every turn, ABC Keystone is their resource, and yours.

Are you inspired to get involved? There are so many opportunities for businesses and tradespersons to influence the next generation, and we can help connect you. Consider involvement in SkillsUSA or help guide high school students through the ACE Mentor Program. Serve on your school or CTC occupational advisory council and share what’s needed in the industry so the schools can make sure it’s being taught. Of course, there’s the ABC Keystone Workforce Development Committee, where members get involved in outreach, Construction Wars, mock interviews and soon, our first intensive construction camps.

February may be CTE Month, but your help is needed and appreciated all year.

For more information on how to get involved, contact Stephanie Larkin, VP of Education, Safety and Workforce Development,

Posted February 4, 2021