August was a fun month! It was great to see everyone in Wrightsville at ABC Keystone’s Summer Outdoor Mixer presented by Saxton & Stump Lawyers and Consultants and to see many of you in Belfonte at the Keystone Chapter’s Nittany Valley Mixer. Mixers like these are events I look forward to each year to have a good time and catch up with so many of our ABC members. It was especially valuable this year to build connections with our members from our new Nittany Valley Region.
Politics continue to dominate the news cycle, whether it is about gun violence vs. the 2nd amendment, abortion rights vs. the rights of the unborn, inflation, or unemployment rates. All these issues will impact each of us personally and the businesses we own.
Whew. March was quite the whirlwind, with the National Craft Competition in San Antonio, Texas (congratulations to our competitors on their achievements!) followed quickly by the spring Construction Wars event. ABC Keystone welcomed more than 200 students and 40 plus educators to our facility for three days of hands-on learning. We were fortunate to receive great press coverage – both in print and TV – so if you haven’t seen it, please check out our social media where it is featured. The foundation of the event is an incredible group of volunteers that I can’t possibly thank enough. We truly have the best members in the country!
Stephanie Larkin Accepts Berks Connections/Pretrial Services (BCPS) Paul J. Hoh Life Improvement Award on Behalf of ABC Keystone
Manheim, Pa, April 19, 2022—ABC Keystone is pleased to announce the Chapter was recently nominated and selected by the Berks Connections/Pretrial Services (BCPS) award committee to receive the Paul J. Hoh Life Improvement Award. The Paul J. Hoh Life Improvement Award recognizes an individual, organization or employer that has furthered the mission of BCPS by improving the lives of incarcerated individuals, reentrants, and their families. Paul Hoh, the award’s namesake, is one of BCPS’s founders and was the first board president. The award was presented at the Annual Life Improvement Breakfast on April 19, 2022.
This month we want to focus on Workforce Development. The Workforce Development Committee is tasked with showcasing careers in construction and the talents of our members. They are to build bridges between the industry and educators on skills needed and careers available for K-12 and post-secondary students. The committee and staff liaison have been hard at work for many years building those bridges.
The pandemic has changed how people view their personal and professional lives. A description used to describe our current time is “The Great Resignation.” People are changing careers, where they live, and some are even deciding to retire early.
One of the main focuses of ABC Keystone’s new three-year strategic plan is the continued expansion of our workforce development efforts. But first, we need to understand what ‘Workforce Development’ means. When I ask members for a definition, most say “getting people interested in our industry and then getting them employed.” Correct! However, that is just the first half of the concept. The second half is taking those that are already in the industry and continuing to develop them and grow their careers so we can retain them.
Career and Technical Education Month®, or CTE Month®, is “a public awareness campaign that takes place each February to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.”
It’s hard to believe that another year has passed, and we are already embarking on a new year. Every new year brings changes, challenges, and opportunities. The way we as a Chapter and our members respond to these issues has made ABC Keystone a high-performing and well-respected chapter.
As my year as Chair of the ABC Keystone Board draws to a close, I am filled with gratitude for our President-CEO Dave Sload, the entire ABC Keystone staff, and of course, our tremendous volunteers that give so selflessly to make our various events a reality. Likewise, I wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to my fellow Board members and the many Committees and Chairs whom I’ve had the pleasure of leading and serving this past year. Most of all, it was my honor and delight to serve the entire membership of over 530 companies in 2021.
School is back in session, and that means workforce development opportunities are in full swing. September featured the start of a new pre-apprenticeship class and a new proprietary curriculum, Safety 360. This enhanced program is designed to increase a student’s exposure to applied math and provide additional context to construction safety, taking the total program hours from 60 to 84. Graduates will receive a completion certificate from ABC Keystone and an OSHA 30-Hour Construction credential. The fall class is also piloting a new schedule that divides training into two-hour segments, three days a week.
As we leave October and move into November, we have many things within our industry that we are celebrating. This past October was designated as Careers in Construction Month, and that was certainly something to celebrate. We continue to thank and honor you, the great individuals that make your career in construction. Without you, our country grinds to a halt. Without you, there is no need for trade associations like ABC.