Skip to content

"Winning Talent Together" Explores Apprenticeships in Tech and Manufacturing

We are using our Business as Usual time slot for a special Winning Talent Together event that will explore apprenticeships as a talent pipeline game changer.

With Academy PGH's Ryan Haggerty moderating, join HR practitioners as they discuss how we need to do more than acquire new talent in Pittsburgh, we need to create it. And when we are intentional, and create that talent from underrepresented, undeserved, displaced, veteran, and incumbent workers, we can grow the pool of a talent in a way that really moves the bar. 

This panel will discuss the existing apprenticable positions and their need to be created, examining non-traditional pathways and modern apprenticeships to reframe workforce development.

Join us to discuss how apprenticeships and partnerships can impact the future of work and hiring for our region.




So good afternoon, everyone. This is Audrey Russo, President and CEO, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, and an organization called 40 by 80, which is the wholly owned subsidiary of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, which is our charitable arm and a place where we're going to talk about apprenticeships and all our work inside there. So I want to welcome you to today's winning with talent together. And the topic is apprentices. And that's a talent pipeline game changer. And I'm not going to do a lot of talking today, because the people who were here are just absolutely amazing beasts in this space. And I am not going to pretend that I'm anything other than a huge cheerleader champion and ally for the importance of this work. So I want to thank Academy Pittsburgh, not only for being a sponsor and a partner today, but for the work that they've done in our community for over five years in this space. And we'll get a chance to meet our moderator who is who hails from that organization. And my benefit advisor for making this also a very valuable event and in the work that they do in making sure people who are running companies, small sizes, mid sizes and getting the tools they need, across all the lines of insurance and support in terms of benefits. So I'm thrilled to introduce the moderator of today's event. It's Ryan Haggerty. And I am also going to give a shout out to Huntington bank, I believe they are partners today, as well. And you know, there's just so many people who makes sure that what we do is important, relevant and actually drives change. So I'm thrilled to introduce Ryan, I've mentioned him a moment ago, Ryan Haggerty, the director of Workforce Development Academy, Pittsburgh, and Ryan's work a little bit about Ryan's work too, so that I can brag about him a little bit, because he probably won't have time, nor will he do it. But as his work is really focused on access accessible workforce and pipelines for people who are building, you know, a career and opportunity where they never had access before in tech and tech, adjacent careers. So they have training programs, they have boot camps, they have employer engagements, they work on regional partners, there's probably just an array of things that they do to make sure that they're nested and tightly woven into the fabric of creating pathways for people who have typically been underrepresented or are really not at the table for so many of these jobs and opportunities. He leads the efforts in the Pittsburgh region, and they to launch and sustain condensed training programs that prepare people to work at really in demand jobs, that we have lots of vacancies, and I know that that's an issue all across the country, but we really just care about Pittsburgh, and Southwestern Pennsylvania. And we want to make sure that we do our part that doesn't mean we don't care about what happens elsewhere. We certainly learned from people who are doing these things elsewhere. So um, you know, the on demand jobs are there's an array of them. And so we could talk, you know, we actually say that it's in the IT cluster. So Ryan is a project manager for for wh digital, which is also a digital service agency. He has a master's in fine arts, film, and digital technologies from Chatham University, and a Bachelor's in film studies from UNC Wilmington. And if that wasn't enough, he has an MFA in film and digital technology. So again, and he has taught on the ground, and he has taught in person and online classes. And there isn't anything that he hasn't touched inside of that world of, of training and development. So I'm going to pass the baton to Ryan, we're going to kick off the event with him. And he's going to introduce our amazing panel of leaders. And we're going to talk about, you know, all these time tested models of apprenticeships and some of the ways that that's changed some of the things to think about in terms of retaining talent, attracting talent, ways of thinking about doing non traditional pathways for development, and the impact that that can have on each and every one of us both inside of our companies as leaders as well as individuals to create a much more inclusive table that we're all sitting at and have opportunities to what I call build stackable skill sets. So I'd like you to stick around even after the conversation, we're gonna have an opportunity to network and get to know some of these people. So I know it's, it's, you know, in a virtual world, hopefully we're moving into it. More of a hybrid and real time world, but we actually have someone here who's, you know, talking to us from Texas, so we wouldn't have had a chance to have her. And I'm pretty thrilled about about the fact that we are just so wide in terms of our wingspan and creating these kind of partnerships. So, Ryan, enough for me, we are going to moderate we put you on mute of one thing we put you on mute. And we're monitoring the chat, and Marie pallone, who is on our team, she is director of all things work force and talent, as well as programs that she is also going to be somewhere in here making sure that the questions are appropriately directed and piping in when it makes sense. So Ryan, thank you so much for joining us love your background, love how you set up your your screen. So I am going to be quiet. And I can't thank you enough for the leadership and the work that you do.

Thank you very much for that Audrey and Marie for getting us all together for this event today. Yeah, I think it is all about looking at our region and thinking about the demand for placing people into jobs. And just figuring out what solutions are going to work best for these career pathways that we're all involved in in these different industries. One thing that we were talking about real quick, I'll share before I introduce our panel of guests here is the fact that we've we've had the good fortune and Academy Pittsburgh of placing nearly double the amount of tech workers into a lot of entry level positions that are in high demand here in Pittsburgh is some of the leading hire Institutes of learning in town have. And that isn't to say that their brands aren't doing wonderful things. But it's kind of learning what works well for your brand and your business, whichever side of this partnership you're engaging with. And really just being able to build a knowledge base around that and being able to build out the sustainable pipeline. So that whether you're an employer hiring someone, whether you're one of these companies who's training someone, or whether you're engaging with someone who's kind of new to the industry, having these entry points and these ways to make these connections happen for people. So with that said, I'm going to talk about our first guests here we have Don john Duncan here from Penn united. And he's working with their technology Learning Institute for the growth of high technology. That's Li gh T for anybody that's following along there. And there's lots of different roles they train for. But he oversees all the apprenticeship programs there and is doing a lot of those partnership relationship management with people outside of the organization as well. So just to share some of these roles that you might hear come up in today's conversation within their industry. There's things like toolmakers, precision machinists, presh, technicians, quality assurance technicians, other technicians, there's a whole slew of programs they've been working on for a long time to make these roles happen for people and have successful on boardings, and hopefully successful career pathways beyond that for the people that they are training. So welcome, john, thank you for joining us today. Glad you're here with us.

Thank you, Ryan, I'd like to thank Maria too, for inviting me. So I'm very excited.

And we're gonna have lots and lots of awesome questions for you coming up. Next up, we have Erica frischmann. So she is the Senior Consultant of organizational development at catalyst connections. So there's lots of things going on over there as well. She's got 25 years of human resource consulting, customer service experience, which I'm sure a lot of people in the audience today can relate to. But there's just a lot, a lot going on there with recruiting talent. And you know, like I said, building out their own pipelines for these high demand roles and figuring out how to bring people in so that they have success, but they also bring value and capacity to what they do. They're at catalyst. So welcome to you, Erica.

Thank you very much Ryan and the Pittsburgh Technology Council for having me. Appreciate it.

Thank you. And now we have Tiffany in a different time zone joining us today. So she's she's experienced the future and the past all at once here. But Tiffany Edwards, she is the state director of apprenti, Texas and apprenti is a a organization you're going to be hearing a lot more about here in Pittsburgh in the not too distant future. But she's the senior low level business professional. She's got more than 15 years experience in this kind of recruitment. And as we were mentioning, some of these other organizations are more in like manufacturing and things like that, which do involve obviously technology and the roles they do. Tiffany's specialties is more in the tech sector and kind of the world that I'm existing in. So she's gonna bring her own unique perspective today to the conversation as well, and just share what's going on with me. So welcome, Tiffany. Thank you. I'm excited to be a part of the conversation. Thank you. And last but not least, we have Debbie kill Meyer with us from St. CCAC. She is the Vice President of Workforce Development at the college there. And she's been working on the same kind of pipelines over there. And a lot of people are familiar with St. CCAC. But being able to think, you know, how can you incorporate both coursework in on the job training into something like an apprenticeship is a perfect fit for Community College, you know, they've got lots of great relationships here in the region, talking to a lot of employers, and obviously, they have a lot of talent that comes through their programs. So I'm really interested to hear some of her thoughts with kind of my background and my world as well. But it just excited to have Debbie here with all her years of experience and everything that CCAC does. And glad you could join us today, Debbie. Thank you. Thanks for having me. All right. So now we have this giant Think Tank here, we get to pepper them with all these awesome questions, so you guys can share in some of this knowledge. So first question, I'm actually going to direct to you, Erica, and then john and Tiffany, if you want to chime in after that, or anyone else, you're welcome to also jump in. But really this is this is kind of the why question, right? You're thinking about investing all this time and setting up an apprenticeship program and trying to figure out what is the value add for you, as well as the people that you're trying to bring into that. So the question is, how do you best assess the needs of your industry to establish the apprenticeship. So Erica, if you could kick us off on that, we'd love to hear what you have to say.

Sure, thank you. So I work for catalysts connection, which is part of the manufacturing extension partnership across the United States. And we focus solely on small to mid size manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania. And depending on what study read, there's going to be a talent gap of three to 5 million people, as folks retire, moving forward. So we wanted to create a opportunity for folks to take their transferable skills, and be able to put those into the manufacturing environment. We also had the opportunity to listen to all of our manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania, as well as our great partners with CCAC. And other strategic partnerships we have that said, You know what, we need an industrial manufacturing technician apprenticeship, we benchmark best practices and put together an 18 month program that provides really the foundational skills for manufacturing. It's a great mixture of technical skills, as well as interpersonal skills, which are equally as important as you look at growing the pipeline growing talent. And we also have implemented, because we heard keep hearing, we need to get this pipeline sooner and sooner. So we are working with middle schools and high schools with pre apprenticeships that get advanced standing in our apprenticeship program, really to allow folks to understand that manufacturing is a great industry to be in, you can have self sustaining wages. And you can get into one of these apprenticeship programs as opposed to going to college and accumulating a lot of debt. This is actually an earn to learn apprenticeship program. So great opportunities in southwestern Pennsylvania with our rich manufacturing history to be able to support that pipeline.

Nice. So I'm hearing there's a little bit with the demand side, but then there's also people that need retrained and they may have some professional skills they bring to the table already. So that sounds like a great reason to make that partnership happen. JOHN, did you have some thoughts to add to that?

No, absolutely. those are those are all great points by by Eric are there and I'll just kind of piggyback a little bit with the schools and she was talking about the pre apprenticeships. I think it's a that's just kind of where we're headed. I mean, it's a it's a great pipeline. We do it a lot here at Penn united we work with the schools. It's a great way to to get students into the manufacturing western Pennsylvania is one of the the leading manufacturing areas in the country. And it's it's a great opportunity for for people to get a good career and, and work for good companies. The apprenticeship programs, a very good way to go with it. So the schools the schools are very good, a very good pipeline.

In Java, just follow up. You guys have 10 programs going this point, right? Correct. Correct. What was the very first one that you guys set up? Like? And how long has it been going?

Oh, it's been, I believe I would have to double check. I'm almost positive. It's the the machinist program. But it has been since Oh, it's been way back. We just celebrated 50 years. And the apprenticeship program has been involved with with Penn United for many, many years.

Sounds like it was a worthwhile investment of time. And

that's really what it comes down to. It's the investment and, and Penny Knight is willing to invest in their apprentices. Because it is, it's I mean, it's, it's great for, for a company, any company, so be in and then it shows the apprentices that, hey, you're willing to invest in them? And, you know, it's great for everyone all around. Go ahead, Erica.

I was gonna say, john, to piggyback on that, you know, you're making an investment in them. And we've also had great response of, I'm gonna invest back into my employer now. And being engaged, long term employee, they took a chance with me, I'm gonna invest back in them. So great, great. Yeah, great, Tiffany.

I just love to echo what john and Erica both shared. And just a little bit about the appointee program, the solution or the program was crafted back in 2015. With 22, Washington companies that were really determined to figure out a way how to bridge the talent gap, we were not producing enough talent from the university track. So there was a great need in trying to identify talent. The intent was certainly not to become the intermediary. But as we've expanded it to 16 states and 18 markets, we found that we've now become the tech sector lead for the DLL as a relates to technology. So I will tell you, as I'm having conversations with employers and community partners, and the world of academia, there's a great need to bridge that gap. And so I think while we may work in different industries and capacities, it certainly is a common theme that we need to be able to find other ways to produce really great talent outside of traditional University route.

Thank you. Yeah. And you in something, Tiffany, I think that you would maybe unique to comment on since you're operating in multiple states, we've mentioned investment of time to get these things set up. What are some things that you might be working on state to state that, you know, just give people an idea of what that might even look like to? I know, we can't get through the whole process, but just some touch points of what we're actually talking about?

Sure, happy to share, I think, you know, because the solution is very much an employer driven model. Without the employers, we don't have a program. And when you think about that, we have to meet our employers where they are. But it is very much a heavy lift, because this concept is very much based stuff on the registered apprenticeship or the original model of registered apprenticeship, which is filled with the core competencies and the requirements of the 2000 plus hours. So when we have conversations with employers, we approach it in two different ways. One, we can come in, and we can show you how to do it. And the second way is, if you're a larger organization, and you have the infrastructure from a talent management perspective, to support the solution, we can help you build that infrastructure out and create the apprenticeship program within the organization. So there are a lot of different program pieces Ryan associated with that. But I will tell you that I have not spoken with an employer that hasn't been aggrieved that this is very much needed. And they are very receptive. It's a matter of how do we build this out and bring this into the organization because the focus is very much on trying to retain. We're not looking at this at this from a staff augmentation perspective. We're looking at opportunities at mid level that creates sustainability where folks can grow their careers within organizations.

Yeah, thank you for sharing that. Yeah, it kind of brings us into the next question. But just to give some of these takeaways. So it sounds like market demand from these employers is driving it. You're talking starting to talk about core competencies and kind of a curriculum that needs built out to be able to meet the demands of those roles once they're getting filled. But also that idea that everybody's alluding to, there's just a longer term pay off when you have somebody on boarded this way that they can be successful and get trained and provide additional capacity and value as they grow within your organization. Which is, I mean, I think everyone goal here. So I'm going to jump into the next question here of making this a team effort. Right? So as everyone's kind of talking about, it's a big investment of time and expertise to actually pull this off and have it be successful. So I believe everyone is actually listed on this question. I'm going to start with you, john. So when you're thinking about this in your you're developing all of obviously these outside partnerships, who on your team is actually involved in this process? Whether it's this curriculum, we're talking to these relationships, you know, any of the needs that you're having to do to make this successful?

Sure, that's a great question. And there are a lot of pieces involved. There's a lot of commitment from and I kind of like to look at it in a backwards view, and go to where you want to be with your end result with your apprentice. So right to the shop floor with team leaders, managers, journey persons that have been there for a long time, and find out what skill sets how do we need to go about teaching these apprentices? what they need to know, what do you want them to know, on the shop floor? What's the end result? And then from there, kind of work back to us here at light. Just speaking for Penn united here. Okay, now us as instructors, trainers, how do we implement things properly? And as far as our curriculum? Which way do we need to go with that? on the job training? All those things involved? How do us as instructors, trainers, get that information, the curriculum, the training, get that across the best way that we can for the apprentices to succeed. And then from there, kind of go up into more of the HR part of it recruiting promotions, everyone's on board, everyone knows the apprenticeships and knows what they're for knows about them are able, you know, it starts so kind of backwards, up to the top. And then you know, obviously, it starts from recruiting and then interviewing, but I kind of look at it as backwards, the work from the shop the whole way up that way everyone involved, you really knows what we're looking for and what we're trying to achieve here as a company. Yeah, I

think that's the employer perspective. And then Debbie, this will be your first one to jump in. But I'd be really curious to hear just from ccaas perspective, from the academia and job placement kind of side, you know, what is happening with your internal team, and How's it look for you?

A lot of input from a lot of different constituents, we do have an apprenticeship coordinator in our workforce department. But we also work directly with our professors, and our faculty that are interested in working in these areas. So we have the industrial manufacturing technician in mechatronics. So we work with our technical faculty. And I agree with john, it's kind of backwards, you start with what's the end result? What listening to what that employer needs, and then sort of backing up into now what are those skill sets, it could be credit or non credit, we love for students to be able to an individual's working with companies that may or may not already have college credits, to be able to acquire college credits, if that is what they're interested in. So it's kind of working backwards. But again, also like john, and and like Erica, and Tiffany, working with that employer and listening. Do you want us to help you do all of it? Do you want us to help you build it out? And then what type of skill sets are you looking to accomplish? So it all fits together?

It sounds like you're meeting meeting the goals of your own internal team, but also those participants that are coming through that have to be motivated and stay on track and see it through to completion until they enter into the workforce again with those new skills. So what a lot of people to Vantage there.

Yeah, we do get so much feedback from employers of apprentices that they just feel so much more a part of the company, and individuals that maybe never participated in a meeting or asked a question or gave a suggestion, now feel empowered to be able to do that they feel so much more invested in the company. And so it's a win win for not only the company, but the employee, and they're more suited and happy in their work, feeling. You know, we all like to feel a vital part of what we do, and be recognized and so it really does change for often for the employee also, which is great to see. Nice. Go ahead, Erica.

No, I was just gonna read a stat yesterday for every dollar a company spends on apprenticeships, they get $1.47 back in productivity. That's a significant return for the investment.

So I'll go with that ROI. Good numbers. And then Tiffany, I know you're kind of coming at it from a different perspective as well. But what is your team makeup look like? or How are you guys addressing, standing up these apprenticeships and doing the implementation?

Yeah, the national team that supports my efforts here in Texas and throughout those 16 markets consisting of a national program, apprenticeship manager, that is a person that handles all of the onboarding, our training is 18 to 22 months. So we're touching the apprentice every step of the way. We also have an education team that support those efforts that align us with specific training partners, that power to COVID, we're actually positioned within the state that we were working in. Now, due to the implications of COVID, we move to more of a virtual delivery concept. And I see that changing a lot here in Texas simply because we have now, bans have been lifted, and people are returning to offices. But, you know, we have a roadmap for our employers, and it's very specific and strategic, and allows them to basically, we hold our hands through every step of the process. It's a heavy lift, not only for the employer, but also for the apprentice. And because there's such a huge level of engagement, it's important for those apprentices to feel that they are a part of the team and not just an extension of the existing teams. So just to echo what Deb said earlier, you know, because we're hyper focused on underrepresented groups, that being people of color on folks with disabilities and veterans, we're dealing with people that would not have access to these opportunities otherwise, because they may not necessarily have a four year degree in computer science, so very much a heavy lift for all parties involved.

No, I think that's a wonderful point. Because as much as the employers are sitting here and going, you know, I've tried this, I've tried that, you know, what's the solution, the people on the other end, that's the talent are having the same frustrations often. So when you're creating these opportunities, and these entry points, and just these, you know, levels of support for people to explore it, learn about it, learn language, how to talk about it, how to learn, again, as an adult, which is frustrating for everybody, you know, I'm sure a lot of people learn how to use zoom for the first time last year. So it's just wonderful to hear that there's that team on hand to be able to make that happen. We are sitting starting to get some questions in the chat. But I think I'm going to hold off for just a second because I have another important point to bring up, which may address and what people are asking. So we're kind of taking a look internally there but thinking about especially since we have so many people that are managing external partnerships and relationships just to make these apprenticeships worthwhile and, and happen. Just thinking about, you know, who are these partners that you might be working with? Right? And why are they so integral to the process, in terms of it happening, but also just informing, like, what new roles you're training people for, and how to improve things, and just how to iterate and make this better for people. And I'm going to kick that one, actually, to Tiffany first, since you're nationwide and your partners are going to be varied in the in the tech industry. So what can you tell us about that?

I will tell you that we're industry agnostic, we still very much do a lot of work in technology. But we go to where our partners need us again, with the focus being on technology, we have 14 occupations registered for the DLL. And it seems like we're adding to that daily. So that's super exciting. We're also looking in the areas of gaming, that's our next biggest opportunity. And I think because we serve over 80 organizations globally, we are able to have those conversations that allow us to come back to organizations and serve as a subject matter expert, because if you're not trying it for the first time, you're either in the midst of trying it for the first time, or you've been able to move the needle and you've perfected it to a certain point with our with our help and our support. So again, it just is I hate to stress the fact that it's the heavy lift, but it is very much a heavy lift for not only the employer for the apprentice, as well as a print team.

Now I feel you I mean, as I get to have these conversations with employers and our own internal team, it's often thinking about what's the next move. You mentioned going remote last year even being a challenge but it's also seeing those things as opportunities. beyond just being a challenge like going remote was extremely helpful for the learners because was likely how a lot of them were going to be deployed in the workplace. So in addition to gaining a lot of the, you know, hands on skills training, they also were learning how to do this remote communication, bass, their home life and their kids and their cats and everything else, which is really adding up to those workplace skills that we're trying to get across to people. So, john, I did want to hear from you as well, because I know you're doing a lot of the industry knowledge and a lot of like the hands on training, knowledge and stuff. So who were your partners? And how did they round out that apprenticeship experience? For what you guys?

Well, I mean, for us here at Penn united, it's, it really is, I know, I touched upon it before, but we work with all the local schools, I mean, that's probably our biggest partnership with the high schools, vocational schools, community colleges, those are really our main pipeline for, for talent. We also, with the high schools, we offer a pre apprenticeship program, I know we had kind of spoken a little bit earlier. But the local high schools, I believe we have nine of them involved right now. They send their students to our training facility once a month for a full day for the entire school year. And they they go through our pre apprenticeship program, and upon completion, they get a certificate from the state, it's registered with the Department of Labor, and they get a certificate for that. And then I think it's a real good opportunity, because you got, you know, some of the younger folks in school that maybe they're on the fence of, do I want to go this route, or do I not, and it kind of gives them a after that nine months or so they got a real good feel for what is going to be in the manufacturing industry. So you know, it could be for them, it may not be. And then upon that, you know, if they're into, you know, the manufacturing, they may go to vocational school, you know, they may continue with that. And then if they apply a pen united, let's say they did a pre apprenticeship, and they went to vote tech. And now after graduation, they applied at Penn united and start a four year apprenticeship program, we can give them credit for the pre apprenticeship and their vote text. And now you got a 1819 year old individual that could have a journey person his wage in two years. And that's kind of a big deal. And then from there, they can only improve and accompany. Yeah. And go upwards, you know, and so I think it's a real good, real good opportunity. As far as that goes. The colleges, we do grant funded programs with pre apprenticeship for veterans, recovering addicts, anybody that may be just has hit a hard time and just having trouble getting back into the workforce. And so we partner with bc three Butler County Community College here, and we put that on, but it's really about getting people back into the workforce, getting them back into the community, it may not necessarily come to a job for Penny united, we have local businesses that we work with synergy. All kinds of all over the area that come in and actually talk to these participants and and give them what they could offer. So it really comes down to getting these folks back into the workforce and getting them turned around. So it's it's a real good program we do also. So let's go ahead, Ryan. I'm sorry.

Oh, no, no, I was just glad you brought it back to participants, which I have a comment, but I'll hold for Tiffany. Go ahead. No, I

again, want to echo what john just said. And I don't think I touched on this in my answer previously, at aplenty, we have this concept of helping all boats rise. And when you think about partnerships we looked at as pillars of competition. And we totally talked about that in order to make this work. And as I'm having conversations with employers, it's this concept of if it doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make sense. And we put that to being a 20 to 25% cost savings over additional higher. And in terms of that the way that we're able to be successful is we do have to have partnerships are aplenty, and that in itself consists of workforce partners and associations in a bit worker training, training providers, higher ed. And when we think about that, we just you know, as we're having these conversations, we have to think big in terms of focusing on the entire ecosystem. And in within that there has to be some cost sharing opportunities. But most importantly, we have to be able to fill those gaps and focus on individual strengths and really partner with our external partners in the program. So that's why it's important to work with other organizations and people that are on this panel today, to just continue to put more people to work.

That's, that's a great point that that really isn't even some of the, if I could just touch on that real quick with Tiffany was saying they're even, you know, opinionated is a little, you know, probably one of the larger companies and in western pa as far as manufacturing goes, but there are a lot of smaller companies that, that maybe can't get an apprenticeship going right, you know, off the bat or, you know, it's just not feasible. So we actually work with some of those companies, and they will send employees to us for training, you know, and we do that, and it's really, you know, it just helps the industry as a whole is, you know, everyone just working together. So that's a great point that Tiffany brought up there. And then Debbie, did you want to hop in Next,

I was going to say, and that's why we ended up registering apprenticeship programs were for so much manufacturing in our area, which is a great thing. But so many of them, we hear about all the great big ones and the great things going on. But the small and medium sized ones sometimes don't have the capacity. So that's why we registered them, because we can have two from this company and one from that company and pull them together and take some of that heavy lift as far also as the paperwork. But I actually wanted to comment on not overlooking that high school student. As we all know, college has gotten very expensive. Not everyone needs a four year degree, we've all heard those reports. But that individual that may start college or not know what to do when they leave high school, they now have lost their contact to a guidance counselor, a teacher and they're kind of just floating around out there that 18 to 25 year old, and they're not sure what they want to do. And so it's so important if we can get them plugged into this. And if it's not what they want to do, that's okay, too, I often say learning what you don't want to do is just as important as what you do want to do. But they find themselves out there without sometimes often a support system that guides them into looking into these type of opportunities or other opportunities. So it is so important to at least get that word out to the high school audience that these opportunities are out there. Right, thanks. And then Erica,

I just wanted to piggyback off what everybody said, based on similar feedback catalyst connection decided to become a group sponsor. So just as Deb said this small to mid size manufacturers who just have one or two, or don't have the internal administrative support to support these programs, we provide that support, we coordinate with the state all the paperwork, we help with curriculum. And, and as we think about our 3000 hour program, you know, 264 hours of it is foundational manufacturing skills that everybody needs across the board. And then those employers have, you know, 2700 hours of specific on the job training, that makes those apprentices even more powerful to those employers, because they've tailored this specific learning to what they need most stuff.

Thank you. Yeah, we're gonna have a pop quiz on the terminology after this, everybody taking notes in here. But I know I mean, that's great to mention that for people that are thinking about this being a big lift for them to for these small and midsize employers to recognize who these partners are, that are already doing the work and have the knowledge base and can deal with, you know, harvill, horrible bureaucratic compliance issues and things like that, to make it just a better pipeline, as Tiffany was talking about, for everybody in the area to be able to be successful. I did want to bring it back to a point that Debbie had made. And, john, you're talking about this a little bit, too, that it is all about these participants, right? That oftentimes they're, you know, looking to jump into something may be different and don't have that network or they don't have that community, right. And they just need that first conversation that human, you know, reassurance that this is going to work out for them. As I was alluding to earlier, as adults, it can be frustrating to have to learn how to learn again. But accepting the frustration is always a part of it. And having support to help you along the way and reassure you that like you're doing something that's worthwhile is certainly going to help you to get there for sure. So with that in mind, I had one additional question for we jumped into some of these chat questions. And that really does get back to the participant. So you've done the hard work, you're building out the program, maybe the apprenticeship already exists, maybe you're getting ready to launch it. So you guys had mentioned some strategies around things like talking to high school students for certain roles, but also partnering with different schools in the area. An academia as well. So really, when you're thinking about that recruitment, you know, Tiffany's phrase was trained to retain, but we got to get them in the door first and, and have them see the value in all this. So when you're trying to get participants recruited in, like, really demonstrate to them, what is the value add for them? And how might this lead to other things for them? And this one, I guess we can kick off with Debbie here. But, you know, what are some strategies that you're finding success in?

I wish it were one simple answer, there is no one place to find apprentices. And if we had that secret, we probably all wouldn't be on this call today. It's really everywhere. I mean, you have to look everywhere, it's new hires from the company, it's incumbent workers, they may have identified that are in a different position, and this would be a step up for them. And now they know that they come to work and they attend and they're a viable employee. It's community based organization, certainly don't overlook them. They're sometimes often that boots on the ground that are working with individuals, and know when they're ready, and are help preparing them to take a you know, position in the workplace. K through 12, you know, college students that find a major is not for them, is there really, any and everywhere, I would say, but I find the community based organizations, working with them really is very valuable, because again, they know the individual they know the barriers to employment, and are hopefully solving those issues, and have them ready to go to work. So that's often where we find, you know, a little bit from everywhere.

Yeah, I mean, it's it's that community social capital, that people are in touch with the people in need already to help you guys get connected. And, and I can imagine, even with CCAC, and just the large student body and faculty and staff and everybody that there's always conversations happening, and I'm sure COVID changed some of that for people, which I noticed in our industry as well, it wasn't like people were just going out to the bar and chatting up their friend about looking for a job necessarily, but you know, it sounds like you'd have a really good community that you've managed to build up to, to do all that. Yes. Yeah, it has been it's a team effort. And, john, you as well, I know, you talked about a little bit, but maybe even just thinking about the the value add, you talked about you guys have pre apprenticeships, which are suitable for certain individuals with certain experience levels, and maybe with less professional experience or younger folks. And then you also have your apprenticeship program, so maybe just thinking about even their, what your recruitment strategy looks like, or why one entry point might be more appropriate for someone.

Right? It's, it's really even what Deb was saying, it's, it's really everywhere. And I really think it's just kind of getting yourself out there. And, and kind of putting your product out there and what you can offer what the apprenticeship can offer, what that can mean to a person. But also, I think, after you're established, I think something else is very important is maybe as we kind of touched on earlier, retain people, you know, kind of the word of mouth, like maybe, hey, you know, what I want to this company is pretty good. You know, you've talked to people they their apprenticeship people stay at, and I think it has a lot to do with that. But it's also getting them in the door and being able to explain to them, what's, what the apprenticeship can do, whether that be job fairs, whether that be going to the schools, whether that be community, whatever it is, to at least get them in to explain the program to explain what can be offered and, and go from there. It's really what it is. And a lot of times individuals may have their mind kind of made up at that point that, hey, this is a path I want to take, you know, and maybe, you know, once you get people in, that may be hesitant in and I find now that a lot of times it you know, it comes back to the college, you know, maybe the non traditional that it's okay not to go to college, if that's not for you, you know, it's and it's okay to go to college, it's in the individual, but I find now a lot of that you may have an individual young, a young person that wants to get into manufacturing, but maybe the parents are a little bit hesitant, you know, that they kind of want them to go the college route, but they don't really want to which, you know, let's face it, we all want what's best for our kids. And that's a that's a viable point. But, you know, maybe convince them that hey, this is a good route to go and, and try and explain to them that this could be a good opportunity. And, you know, I think that's that's very important.

Yeah, and what I'm really hearing from everybody is this is incorporated into the workplace culture of your not just your, you know, organization but the industry that you're in. And you know, they're the employers and everyone's given people time to work on this because it is valuable, and it's it's seen as a valuable piece. Even Though there's other things that we do to make money, investing in human capital, and activating talent is just going to do things that you can't even put an ROI on. So it's awesome to hear that you have that kind of support that to have the 50 years of experience that you all have had, as well as the 10 roles that you've been able to set up programs for.

Yeah, that's for sure. We've been we've been very fortunate, and it is an investment, but it's, it's an investment well worth it. And it's, it does pay dividends. So it's apprenticeships are they're very good opportunity for individuals. So yeah, and

one thing Tiffany commented on that I think's worth mentioning here is a hot tip here, locally and peppered. If you do have a registered apprenticeship program, there is an actual list through Career Link that people will see you on. It's there for various reasons, including, you know, recruitment for this workforce training, but there's funding and things involved with it as well, that it kind of opens up your program to which is not something that we were looking to get into today, because I think that's a whole nother show on how these things get funded. But certainly, you know, like partner for work career Lincoln and organizations like that are wonderful organizations to touch base with because they can help you in these recruitment efforts, as well as just kind of navigating compliance and figuring out some of the things that you may have questions about. So with all that said, that was the regular round of questions that we had, we do have a few questions here from the chat that people have kind of been popping in. So this is going to be a little bit of popcorn, because some people may have some answers related to this within their field. But one of the first ones I did see there was just if someone could please comment on the robotics related and additive manufacturing technologist apprenticeship programs. The comment was we keep hearing that the respective manufacturer needs hands on and brains on technologies are technologists and technicians. So that's if you know, john, or someone here, I'm not sure if that's john or catalyst there CCAC. But robotics related and additive manufacturing technologist apprenticeship programs.

So we have a robotics technician apprenticeship program with new century careers. We partnered in catalysts. And as far as additive AI, we don't have that as of yet. But I'm hearing that respective manufacturers need hands on and brains on. It's that same kind of drain that everyone's having, we really need to get the individuals that are here, placed in these careers. And I know with things going with the pandemic, we move so much instruction online, but there is only so much you can do. by zooming online, there are certain things where you need to finally roll up your sleeves and get your hands on them. So we're looking forward to, you know, things opening up and employers opening up and being able to do those skill sets. We have done them during the pandemic. But it was far more spaced out. So we're looking forward to things getting back to our new normal soon.

Thank you. And that that question was from Volcker. Thank you for that. The next one here is from Jim. So I think Jim's just kind of commenting on trying to work with state and local government in terms of getting some things going here with trainings, but they wanted accredited or degree programs, not just leading edge industry training. So this sounds like it may be related to compliance or just you know, what, what, how you representing yourself when you approach state and local government? So what kind of things might Jim consider here when he's trying to gear himself up to have these conversations? I guess related to apprenticeships here.

I'd certainly be willing to talk with you even offline, to see if there's any way we can help you not all apprenticeships have to be degree or accredited. Some do like an I think it is appreciated an industry related credential if it's not a degree or certificate. But I'm sure all of us could could give you some insight if you'd like to speak offline. Thank you.

And then we did have just kind of a general question here. So this is this is just kind of i don't i don't know if we have the answer here. But which industry support or need the most apprenticeships? I don't know. I'm in tech. So I would say me because I'm selfish. But I think there's a lot of opportunity. I like the fact that john, you brought up pre apprenticeships as being a thing too. I know there's a lot of market research that goes into all of this, when you're thinking about how many jobs need filled, what the growth pathway looks like beyond that within a specific career pathway, because if someone's investing their time, you want to make sure that there's a way for them to grow within that field and that industry is going to be maintained for a while. So I see john, you came off me Dude, I don't know if you want to touch on that first and

go ahead. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. That's, that's very true. And it and I think it varies from company to company, depending on your size, I mean, a smaller company, you're not going to let's just use for instance, here at Penn united, you know, we have people retiring every year. You know, it's, it's a, it's a rollovers. So we need a continual flow, where, you know, a smaller company may not have that, you know, as often. So, there's a difference there. But, I mean, just kinda in general, the question, I mean, it's, it's hard to really pinpoint where there's so many apprenticeships, I mean, we'd normally go to the apprenticeship summit out in Harrisburg every year, they didn't have it last year, but it is unbelievable to see the amount of ships that are out there. And not just in manufacturing, or, you know, technical I mean, it is in everything. So, it's, it's really hard to pinpoint exactly where but I mean, I know in the manufacturing industry, it's, it's changing, and we got to keep up with the times or, you know, because it's that the world is changing. technology's changing, and you got to change with it. So. And I would say, for that, and then Tiffany, if you want to add to that,

no, I was just going to say, of course, I'm a bit biased, but I will tell you that the data points support there being a great need in technology. But as I'm having conversations with employers, and seabios, there is just a great need across the board. I mean, I am being asked to almost reinvent the wheel and offer opportunities outside of tech, because there's just such a need across multiple business units within an organization. So to John's point, it's just a continuum. But there's definitely a common thing that we continue to keep the bundle form, because you know, we have people retiring every day, we have needs that are related to upskilling and rescaling within existing organizations in partnership. So, you know, to John's point, it's everywhere.

Yeah. And just to add to that thought, it's kind of like things are changing and coming at us, you know, where we have to adapt. So fast apprenticeships can be a good model, just because you can set up the training to kind of coincide with the needle a little bit. But you know, there's a lot of industries, whether it's healthcare, finance, manufacturing, whatever it may be, that are getting kind of that tech plus or digital plus add on to adapt to the way that their markets and things are changing. So I don't know if you know, tech, in general is kind of driving that across different industries is maybe a better way to look at that framework. But that's definitely something I've noticed that even if you are in healthcare, there's some kind of tech or digital skill you got to add to be in that job these days. But go ahead, Debbie. Now, I

said, that's a good point. It would be I guess, which industry you ask to have the most need. But in western Pennsylvania, its manufacturing healthcare IT. And like you said, Ryan, it really spreads across all of them. So there is a basis needed there, you know, enough skills, basic skill set that would be across the board.

So just kind of scan across our questions, we did just have some people that looked like they were trying to make connections from Boys and Girls Club, Western pa is a friend in here, Nelson, they all wanted to talk to you guys and work with your program. So that's good feedback. So I think that's all the questions that I had in the chat for now. So the only other thing I would ask to the audience here, if there's any more questions you wanted to pose to our panel, if you have experience with apprenticeships, that we haven't really touched on something that's valuable that we're kind of leaving out if you wanted to mention it in the chat, and we could kind of bring it up in the discussion. Or even if you're just still you know, you're really serious about this, and you're considering how do I implement this or you're in a certain stage of it and you want to kind of comment while we have this brain trust here today. We invite you to kind of share those questions with us while we have all our people on on the meeting here today.

So Ryan, this is this is Audrey, I think everyone can see me now. I first of all, I want to give you know, thank you so much, Ryan for doing a beautiful job moderating this. There are so many different pieces and parts like just sitting here listening to everything I think about education of families, education of people who are teaching students, there's you know, the pressures are coming from so many different dimensions to go to college, not to go to college. We know what what sort of the hierarchical ranking is in terms of one's own life, in in what they master and we need to debunk that the time is the time has Been now I know, john, you've been in the space for a long time. So you've been working on trying to debunk a lot of these myths. But I think it really is, it's a new day for these conversations. It's a new day. And it's hard for people to hear it from from people, like many of us who are college educated. And we're saying, you know, what, we think you need to do it differently. And people scratch their heads and go, Well, you didn't do it differently. And so why why should I or any of my kids, so it's really systemic. And the thing that I really appreciated from from Tiffany, of saying that it really is all hands on deck, that, you know, Deb and her team, and john and his team and an Erica, that the work is, is is robust, and it's far reaching. And it's not just people who are in tech that necessarily have the skill sets to make it happen, right, it takes in our world at the tech Council, we're thrilled because we have incredible relationships with businesses, we actually so we are a trusted partner. We have great relationships with Chief Information Officers and security officers and CEOs, and founders. So we are embracing this apprenticeship program at print D, as we're going to leverage some of the brains from all of you here, in particular, belong expertise that Tiffany has had in Texas, so that we make it sort of right, we're going to make mistakes, we're definitely going to fumble. But I know if we're knitted together, that we will, we will we will be able to succeed and we will gain the trust, and the brain trust will be stronger. So gaining the trust of businesses, because small businesses are interested as well. So how do we help? How do we help them. So the dogs are barking, and I am going to have to go on mute. But I would like to thank you all. I mean, it sincerely that this is critical, you're going to hear from us at the tech Council and Marie, you're also going to need to stay connected to Ryan and to john and to the work that Eric has been doing. And the leadership at CCAC. with them, it takes all of us this isn't a competition. This is something that we just have to that we all just have to do together. And we're going to make mistakes. And we're gonna hope Tiffany gives us some some shortcuts in terms of what we must not do in terms of the mistakes, but hats off to all of you. And any comment any ideas, please reach out to Marie Maloney on our team, she will she is a great connector, she's a community builder. If you enough, hats off to Academy, Pittsburgh can be Pittsburgh, go on to LinkedIn and see what they posted today with Josh posted in terms of the ROI on their program and compare that to one of our esteemed universities here who we also deeply appreciate. But it's just it's not a peanut butter kind of conversation. It's different to mention. So thank you to Academy Pittsburgh, because we've really been at it for a long time. And thanks to my benefit advisor and synergy staffing for the work they do as well. everyone cares about mentoring. It's been amazing how many people have just sort of come out and raise their hand and say Count me in, count me in. So thank you and stay connected to the people who were here. I think they're pretty easy to find. So morning panelists, warning panelists that people might reach out to you. So I hope you appreciate that. And understand. So we're signing off for now. And but not not forever. We're going to be working on this and staying connected. So have a great day. Stay safe. Connect with Murray pallone, and we'll see you very soon in real life. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you.

Transcribed by