First State-Certified Pre-Apprenticeship Program Approved in Chester County

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DOWNINGTOWN, PA — The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) was recently approved for the first-ever state-registered pre-apprenticeship program in Chester County. Build Your Trade will be offered at the CCIU’s Technical College High School (TCHS) Brandywine Campus beginning in September 2022. The program will focus on meeting the demand for workers in the construction trade industry and will as provide students with access to all the resources necessary to excel in this line of work.

The pre-apprenticeship program will prepare students to immediately enter either an apprenticeship program or the workforce. While other schools provide similar pre-apprenticeship programs, this is the first one in Chester County to be registered with the state. The Build Your Trade program will be offered to TCHS students in grade 10. Over the course of the three-year program, graduates will receive 72.5 hours of credit, which will be directly transferred to a registered apprenticeship program with ABC Eastern Pennsylvania or ABC Keystone. Graduates will advance through these programs with accelerated speed and no debt.

Dr. Joe Fullerton, director of Career, Technical and Customized Education at the CCIU, had this to say about the program: “We are excited to receive approval for this pre-apprenticeship program. This will provide students in the building trades programs, such as carpentry, electrical and HVAC, another opportunity to earn valuable work experience for continued growth and success. We are thrilled to be the first pre-apprenticeship program approved in Chester County.”

TCHS Brandywine offers many programs aimed at addressing the workforce deficits faced by the Chester County community at large. The Build Your Trade program was designed to help relieve the many workforce shortages in the construction trade industry, in hopes that the pipeline of skilled workers will support the growing demands in Chester County. The Build Your Trade program will combine curriculum learning and hands-on technical learning, as well as collaborative efforts with industry partners on TCHS’ Occupational Advisory Committee and non-profits to help build affordable housing for the community.

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In addition to providing credits towards state apprenticeship programs, Build Your Trade will provide students with industry credentials and certificates to prepare them for entrance into the workforce. Students will also have the opportunity to connect with industry partners and hiring businesses as well as the ability to attend job fairs and interviews.

Jill Stoltzfus, TCHS career readiness coordinator, expressed her eagerness for the program to begin, stating: “We are so excited to be starting our Build Your Trade pre-apprenticeship program, the first state-registered program in Chester County. ABC Eastern Pennsylvania and ABC Keystone have partnered with us and will support students as they transfer to either a registered apprenticeship program or directly enter the workforce. Either way, they will support our students with successful opportunities post-graduation.”

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