Hanover Chamber Apprenticeship Program First in Commonwealth

The Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce has become the first chamber in Pennsylvania to submit a chamber apprenticeship program model that has been approved by the PA Department of Labor and Industry.

The application, a group, non-joint model for apprentices, was officially approved on Thurs., Feb. 9.  The model is non-union with four companies (Elsner Engineering Works, Inc., KLK Welding, R.H. Sheppard Co, Inc., and Utz Quality Foods, Inc.) under the umbrella of the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber provides guidance and connectivity among local business, schools and the government of Pennsylvania.

In parallel, Hanover Public and South Western school districts are reviewing the ‘Right Skills Now’ curriculum as a starting point for pre-apprenticeship programs. Following the same advice from the Department of Labor & Industry, a pre-apprenticeship program will allow participating companies and schools to prepare for a full-apprenticeship program. Both schools have a shared goal of offering this course in fall 2017.

Through the apprenticeship program, high school students will have the opportunity to begin as a pre-apprentice in their senior year, with the program structured around their high school curriculum and work within one of the participating companies. Upon graduation, the student will have the opportunity to complete a second year as a paid employee and apprentice within the company.

The apprenticeship program is part of a greater workforce development initiative by the Hanover Chamber, in collaboration with local partners in business and education.  Noting the need for a talented and competitive workforce, the chamber began implementing strategies to educate and develop the future workforce over 15 years ago.  In addition to the recent addition of the apprenticeship program, the Hanover Chamber runs an annual, 18-week program, “Introduction to Manufacturing”, an introductory course for high school students to gain valuable exposure to manufacturing career opportunities. The mission of the program is to grant students access to and knowledge of manufacturing employment opportunities in the region.

Gary Laird, Chamber President, recently sat down with Rep. Kate Klunk to talk about the apprenticeship program with Gordon Laabs, Elsner Engineering, and Ken Kirkpatrick, KLK Welding.