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Summit Successfully Apprises Industry of Apprenticeship Assistance


A sold-out crowd of industry leaders and their advocates, representing 66 employers across Pennsylvania and from four other states, attended Thursday’s inaugural Apprenticeship Summit to address substantive progress in narrowing the skills gap in manufacturing. Attendees were welcomed by Pennsylvania College of Technology President Davie Jane Gilmour, who announced three major related developments: the eligibility of mechatronics apprentices to earn 20 credits toward a two-year Penn College degree in the field; establishment of The Apprenticeship Center on campus as a resource for collaborating with state and local partners; and a $576,000 grant from the state Department of Community & Economic Development to fund apprenticeships in mechatronics and computer numerical control occupations, as well as pre-apprenticeship programs for high school students. The keynote speaker was Robert I. Lerman, a professional economist, Urban Institute fellow and expert on apprenticeships whose resume includes a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Others on the dais included Lori Renne and Alex Halper, from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry; Jim Nemeth, of Autoneum; and Eric Ramsay, representing the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The afternoon session featured an interactive program among participants, designed to provide companies with a convenient opportunity to speak to those involved in all facets of apprenticeship.

– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor,
and Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer

President Gilmour welcomes guests to campus and shares good news for Penn College – including a sizable state grant to support apprenticeship-related instruction.
President Gilmour welcomes guests to campus and shares good news for Penn College – including a sizable state grant to support apprenticeship-related instruction.

It's a "full house" in Penn's Inn for the summit, sponsored by Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College.
It’s a “full house” in Penn’s Inn for the summit, sponsored by Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College.

The president's announcements are welcomed with applause.
The president’s announcements are welcomed with applause.

Shannon Munro, vice president for workforce development at Penn College, introduces the day's speakers.
Shannon Munro, vice president for workforce development at Penn College, introduces the day’s speakers.

Renne discusses high-demand occupations in the commonwealth and highlights PA Chamber successes such as Penn College freshman Hanna M. Gibson, a residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration, from Allison Park, who received a mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship.
Renne discusses high-demand occupations in the commonwealth and highlights PA Chamber successes such as Penn College freshman Hanna M. Gibson, a residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration, from Allison Park, who received a mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship.

Halper shares his perspective.
Halper shares his perspective.

Nemeth details his company’s global reach and exemplary apprenticeship experiences.
Nemeth details his company’s global reach and exemplary apprenticeship experiences.

Penn College alum James R. Reese (left), ’00, environmental technology, and ’01, technology management, chats with Christopher P. Ray, executive director, business development for WDCE. Reese serves as a field representative/western region for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Apprenticeship and Training. A PA CareerLink specialist, Reese retired from the Navy prior to enrolling at Penn College. He says the technology management curricula helped him pass the CareerLink specialist test.
Penn College alum James R. Reese (left), ’00, environmental technology, and ’01, technology management, chats with Christopher P. Ray, executive director, business development for WDCE. Reese serves as a field representative/western region for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Apprenticeship and Training. A PA CareerLink specialist, Reese retired from the Navy prior to enrolling at Penn College. He says the technology management curricula helped him pass the CareerLink specialist test.

Lerman steps away from the podium to engage his audience ...
Lerman steps away from the podium to engage his audience …

... and answers attendees' questions following his talk.
… and answers attendees’ questions following his talk.

An attentive audience takes notes during the keynoter's remarks.
An attentive audience takes notes during the keynoter’s remarks.

Ramsay kicks off the after-lunch portion of the program ...
Ramsay kicks off the after-lunch portion of the program …

... with an overview of pre-apprenticeships as a pipeline to the workforce.
… with an overview of pre-apprenticeships as a pipeline to the workforce.

Renne (right) takes part in an informative Q&A session in a neighboring classroom.
Renne (right) takes part in an informative Q&A session in a neighboring classroom.

Ray (right foreground) helps attendees understand that resources abound to aid in establishment of apprenticeship programs.
Ray (right foreground) helps attendees understand that resources abound to aid in establishment of apprenticeship programs.

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