Apprenticeship Summit: the height of collaborative solutions
– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor; and Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer
Paul Champion, the Houston-based director of Adaptive Construction Solutions, outlines "Strategies for Apprenticement Engagement to Employers" that amount to nothing less than a revolution in workplace philosophy. A thoroughly engaging morning keynoter (despite only arriving in Williamsport at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday) – who served an internship with General Electric in the 1980s – said Penn College's weaving of apprenticeships into its institutional mission is a sterling example of higher education's responsiveness to industry needs.
President Davie Jane Gilmour welcomes attendees, discussing the "tangible and proven" advantages of apprenticeships. Her remarks included a recap of the college's widening involvement, from one program (mechatronics) six years ago to today's nine occupations and 70 participating employers as far away as Florida and Arizona.
In a wide-ranging and well-received presentation, Christopher P. Ray, executive director of business development, explains the “nuts and bolts” of apprenticeships as an offset to a persistent skills gap.
Allen Keniston (at center in hat) and Cortney Frtiz (to his left), plant manager and human resources director, respectively, from Gasbarre Products Inc. listen intently to Ray’s discussion.
Will Greiner (at center in black shirt), manager of continuous improvement at Strong Industries Inc., considers the benefits of apprenticeships.
Denny Piccirillo, chief operating officer with Keystone Powdered Metal Co., takes notes.
Among the interested and engaged professionals: Jeff Bukolt, human resources manager at Avery Dennison.
Backdropped by an aerial image of campus, Becky A. Freezer, MIDAS and operations coordinator, serves as emcee for the day.
Penn College plastics & polymer technology alumni reunite and converse during a break: Sidney C. Trunzo (left), ’21, process engineer at Brentwood Industries Inc., and Nathan A. Rader-Edkin, ’20, program manager for Penn College’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.
Workforce Development staff were on hand to talk with guests, including (from left): Gerry Pena, SME training specialist; Ross A. Berger, MIDAS grant manager; and Chris D. Gramling, SME training specialist.
Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC project manager, mingles.
A sold-out crowd listens to Ray's distillation of the equational pieces that add up to his overriding message: "Apprenticeship is good business."
Beth M. Bittenbender, Workforce Development's operations/special projects director ...
... introduces a video touting apprenticeship opportunities for women in manufacturing.
An Apprenticeship Industry Experts Panel – moderated by Adam J. Yoder (standing), SME training specialist and Penn College alumnus – responded to a variety of audience questions. Seated (from left) are panelists Shannon M. Munro, the college’s vice president for workforce development; Tara Loew, director of the commonwealth's Apprenticeship and Training Office; Burdick; and Mark A. Trueman, manager of prehospital operations/deputy chief at Susquehanna Regional Emergency Medical Services/UPMC (and an adjunct faculty member in the college's paramedic program).
An afternoon address on federal apprenticeship resources was delivered by Nicholas Burdick, multi-state navigator for the U.S. Department of Labor's National Apprenticeship Office.