The one-credit pre-apprenticeship program will be offered to high school seniors starting next fall in schools partnering with the alliance. The list includes 15 K-12 schools in York County.
“We see it as a feeder program for our apprenticeship program,” said Jon Kinsley, president and COO at Kinsley Construction.
Other contractors also might benefit as the program develops
The construction industry has experienced steady growth following the last recession. But the average worker is getting older and it can be a challenge finding skilled tradespeople for some projects because some people left the industry when times were slow, industry professionals have said.
Employee retention is an issue that construction companies of all sizes are dealing with. Kinsley recently added a talent development manager to supplement its HR department.
Kinsley, which is based in York Township, started an apprenticeship program in 2000. The program has graduated about 100 people over the last 16 years, Kinsley said.
Kevin Appnel, executive director at the York County alliance, said he is hoping as many as 30 students gain exposure to the construction industry in the program’s first year. Eventually, he hopes to see the program expand and serve additional companies in construction and manufacturing.
But it will take time commitments from partner companies. Students will spend about 50 hours in the field with Kinsley over the course of the school year. The students also will do about 80 hours of online learning, Appnel said.
Appnel is hoping the idea will spread to other parts of the state. He said he’s already heard from people in the Hanover area interested in potential partnerships with the alliance.
Adult programs also could be added, he said. People out of work or looking to change careers might be interested in an abbreviated program, he said.
The alliance and Kinsley expect to begin screening high school juniors in the spring of 2017 as they start thinking about their senior years in the fall and their lives after high school.