By: G. David Sload, ABC President-CEO

Here we are again at the beginning of a new year, and we are wondering where 2019 went. We have completed our 60th year as an active ABC Chapter, and while it went by quickly, we achieved many major tasks. With a dedicated emphasis on education, training and workforce development, we hit some new records for the Keystone Chapter. Let’s take a brief look at some of the numbers.

Apprenticeship has been a constant program since 1968. While we had hit a high of 380 students in the past, the great recession of the mid 2000s brought that number down to 187 students. In comparison, our 2019/2020 school year has seen us hit a highwater mark of 412 students. In addition, the Trust Board saw the need to add more quality and continuity into the program by making the move to full time instructors. This has been accomplished, and we are seeing greater interaction and more hands-on learning occuring throughout the program.

In 1994, the Education Committee (at that time) was interested in seeing if we could host an education or safety training event each month. That initiative has seen quite a growth. In 2019, we hosted 174 education and safety training events with over 2,600 member employees participating. The current Education Committee is always looking for member input regarding what training is needed (that we don’t currently offer) to continue growing the program. We’ve accomplished this tremendous growth in education and training in response to the needs of the members, because we are truly a member-driven organization.

Workforce Development is a hot term but also very nebulous – in other words, it’s difficult to define concretely. Our goal under the current strategic plan was to increase our education and training connection with those outside of our industry and to be the go-to resource for them when they are directing young people into our industry.

What a year we have had! Our Construction Wars program for middle school students continues to be a success, and ABC Keystone hosted over 400 students this year. We began formal pre-apprenticeship programs, which take place both here at the Keystone Chapter and in some high schools. At this time, we have articulation agreements with 20 different educational entities. At last count, ABC Keystone staff and members have interacted with over 4,200 educators and students during 2019.

In addition to all the above, we set records for attendance at a number of our events this past year. This year’s Excellence in Construction Awards saw the most project entries since the program began. The Golf Outing continued to nearly sell out, and the 2019 Economic Breakfast had the largest attendance on record.

Everything that we saw accomplished in 2019 was because of you, the members. Under Chapter leadership – starting with our 2019 Board Chair Doug Dvorchak and including the Board of Directors, the Committee Chairs and all of the volunteer committee members – this past year has seen tremendous growth in both education and training services and workforce development efforts. I can not thank you enough for what YOU have done to make 2019 a successful year. The staff and I are proud to be part of your organization, and we certainly are looking forward to what we can help our incoming Chair, Roger Brubaker, and you, the members, accomplish in 2020.

January 7, 2020