Message from the President-CEO ABC Keystone


As we enter February, we celebrate Career & Technology Education, or CTE month. Our partners from the various County Career and Technology Centers (CTCs) are the steppingstone and first rung into developing our Craft Professionals for our industry. We have had a long-standing relationship with both Lancaster CTC and Berks CTC. During 2020, we also entered into a formal agreement with Cumberland/Perry CTC and have opened a positive dialog with Dauphin County Technical School.

Students coming out of programs like those mentioned above have a leg up when entering our PA-registered Apprenticeship program. With these technical schools filling up, other students were being left out on the opportunity to experience a trade. Several school districts and charter schools recognized the need for help in being able to introduce students to alternate career opportunities. This created the demand for and the beginning of the Keystone ABC Pre-Apprenticeship program.

We started our pilot program in 2019, and it continued into early 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit, and the limitations placed on in-person training, in conjunction with the schools’ specific COVID-19 in-person attendance limitations, slowed our progress. The great news is 11 students have applied to enter our full apprenticeship program. In addition, some have been hired as entry level field employees.

So, to the point of my topic: I get many calls asking where to find experienced craft professionals. I’m sorry to say, they are not out there looking for work. If someone comes in with any level of experience and have been unemployed for a period of time, you may want to dig deeper before extending an offer. It is only going to get harder with retirements and those that choose not to work.

Therefore, the need for Workforce Development has two main components. First, we tackle introducing and enticing young people to enter our industry. Second, we need to get them trained once we get them in the door. Training is not just their initial training, but it is the ongoing, career-advancing education and training. The good news for you, the members, is that we are here to provide these introductions and educational programs.

The key to maximizing these efforts, is that you need to walk through the door with them and with us. As we get in front of young people and introduce them to our industry, you can be a valuable resource for information and stories. When we have young people that have gone through a Pre-apprenticeship program, interview them and bring them on board as an entry level craft professional if they have the right attitude and work ethic. Lastly, once they have shown their worth, continue to invest in their training and advancement in the industry. The key to Workforce Development is the development of the individual.

Together, we all can have a true impact on Workforce Development.

G. David Sload
G. David Sload
ABC Keystone President-CEO

Posted February 4, 2021