ABC Keystone Pre-apprenticeship


This is likely not the first article you have read about workforce development efforts and pre-apprenticeship at ABC Keystone, the latter something we’ve focused on for the last two years. It is certainly not the first article I have written about the topic. But there is one thing about this article makes it very different. In this article, I get to share how our program has increased the talent pipeline.


A quick refresher:
ABC Keystone built a pre-apprenticeship program using the first six months of general education for registered apprenticeship. We registered the program with the Commonwealth of PA to add credibility and then started partnering with area high schools to recruit students. At the same time, some schools adopted our program and curriculum, and, with our full support, placed it in their buildings.

ABC’s first group of in-house students finished the program in the spring of 2019. Since then, we ran another four groups, with the final one completing coursework in late August. Our program gives students an exposure to our industry and provides some of them with credentials they can use in the future. But the real value of a program like this is when the end product – a pre-apprentice graduate with an OSHA 10 card, basic math skills, basic hand and power tool skills, a basic knowledge of rigging and materials handling, that can read a basic blueprint – transitions into registered apprenticeship and gets sponsored by one of our members. This is that success story.

OSHA 10-Hour Training, February 2020

One of our first adopters was Elizabethtown Area High School, which quickly had the program up and running. Their first group of students began courses in the fall of 2019. Most of those students were first-semester seniors. The students finished classes in the early winter of that year, and their instructor, Ken Boland, sent along their grades and performance profiles. In a perfect world, those pre-apprentice graduates immediately seek sponsorship in registered apprenticeship. It may not work that way. Some students leave pre-apprenticeship never to return, deciding the industry is not for them. Others pursue a post-secondary education; others take a long time to find a path.

And then it happened:
This spring, we received applications from four Elizabethtown pre-apprentice graduates. Our apprenticeship team sent their information out to potential employers, and two have been picked up by members! Not only have we helped these students establish their path to a gold-collar career, but we assisted members in finding young talent.

THAT is how we measure success.

Life Cycle of Workforce Development and Pre-apprenticeship

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Learn more about ABC Keystone’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program at:

Posted September 9, 2020