Chamber Showcases Workforce Partnership and Apprenticeship Program

The Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an event on Nov. 15 to celebrate Hanover-area workforce partnerships and the new Chamber apprenticeship program.

The purpose of the event was to showcase facilities in Hanover-area schools that prepare students for careers as they enter the workforce, while also providing employers with information for shadowing and apprenticeships in their facilities. There were several school districts in attendance that do not yet have these facilities but aspire to offer workforce preparation to students in the future. Additionally, representatives from several state agencies were present to learn more about what Hanover schools have to offer, and how the Chamber’s apprenticeship model can be replicated across the Commonwealth.

The event began at Hanover High School at 9 a.m. with an introduction from Chamber President Gary Laird. PA Rep. Kate Klunk shared a few words about growing up in the Hanover area and her time at Hanover High School, where she is hopeful her children will attend. PA Deputy Secretary of Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani then applauded the community for coming together to create such a program that the state proudly supports. Following Cipriani, PA Deputy Secretary for the Office of Administration at DCED Carol Kilko declared the program as an opportunity for not just students, but also businesses.

After these remarks, Hanover Public School District Superintendent Dr. John Scola was given a chance to speak. He emphasized Hanover Public School District’s goal for students to become both college and career ready—a benefit that allows students to choose their path, and change their minds along the way.

The group then toured multiple facilities throughout the school, including the foundry, welding lab, virtual and augmented reality labs, video and music recording studios, and more. Students were shared their own experiences with the program and demonstrated equipment.

Attendees then travelled to South Western High School where they again toured several technology education labs, including the welding lab, electronics lab, woodshop, digital media and graphic design centers, and drafting room. Tyler Sieg, a technology education teacher at South Western, emphasized the importance of such facilities, emphasizing that his classes require students to not only be good with their hands, but also with their heads. According to Sieg, many of his lessons are based upon science principles, which challenge students to think pragmatically. South Western High School students Morgan McAdams, Zachary Neighoff, and Bailie Zepp shared their experiences with South Western’s career readiness programs.

Gordon Laabs (Elsner Engineering), Lisa Dennis (South Western High School), David Harnish (Hanover Public School District) and Eric Ramsay (PA Department of Labor and Industry) led a discussion about the apprenticeship program and encouraged local businesses to become involved.

Secretary Dennis Davin of the Department of Community and Economic Development provided closing remarks and presented a proclamation of National Apprenticeship Week from Governor Wolf.

The Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce was the first chamber in Pennsylvania to submit a Chamber Apprenticeship Model that was approved by the PA Department of Labor and Industry.

Through the apprenticeship program, high school students will have the opportunity to begin as a pre-apprentice in their junior 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 paid apprenticeship 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.

To view photos from the event, visit us on Facebook.

Partners of the Hanover Chamber Apprenticeship Program celebrate the proclamation of National Apprenticeship Week by Governor Wolf at South Western High School. Pictured left to right: Allen Smith, RH Sheppard Co.; Gary Laird, Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce; Gordon Laabs, Elsner Engineering Works, Inc.; Eric Ramsay, PA Department of Labor and Industry; Ken Kirkpatrick, KLK Welding, Inc.; Kevin Gulden and John Klecker, UTZ Quality Foods, LLC.