This column was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, August 9, 2018

If you read my dear colleague Robin Fitzpatrick’s column last month, you were “in” on a great surprise. (If you missed it, click here.) To say I am grateful to count Robin as a colleague, mentor and friend, is a huge understatement. Thank you Robin, and thank you to everyone in the Adams County community who offered me well wishes upon my work anniversary at Adams Economic Alliance!

The idea of being a mentor leads right into this month’s topic. Think back on your career, no matter if you’re just launching your professional career, or whether you’re a seasoned employee or entrepreneur. There were bound to be people along the way who helped you with advice, training, skills and guidance. Perhaps you are now in a position to mentor others and “give back” to your profession. What a fantastic, positive cycle!

Apprenticeship is very much like a mentoring situation. If you’d like to be an apprentice, or if you’re in a position to offer an apprenticeship, we have a new program available throughout the state of Pennsylvania just for you. Of course, we are excited to welcome Adams County participants!

Through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), a new pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program is currently accepting grant proposals from apprenticeship sponsors: single employers, employer consortiums, workforce development boards, economic development organizations (like us!), labor organizations, career tech schools, community colleges and community organizations. Eligible apprenticeships must be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO).

Grants can be used to complement hourly salaries of in-house instructors for training that supports on-the-job training, costs of books and materials, contracted professional services related to academic competency and other eligible expenses.

Since the ATO office was created in 2016, there have been 2,610 new apprentices and 81 new registered apprenticeship programs created. The statewide totals currently include 15,201 apprentices and 750 programs!

The main outcome from this program is workforce development. Apprenticeships help close skills gaps in the workplace while also forging new career paths resulting in greater economic prosperity for all involved.

Workforce development is intersecting with our work here at the Alliance a lot lately! We are working more closely than ever with a partner organization, South Central PA Works (SCPa Works) on workforce development projects. Check them out at

Additionally, over the past year, our Advantage Adams partnership has successfully held panel discussions on Adams County’s top industries—agriculture, health care, manufacturing, small businesses and tourism. One of the common denominators, a topic that surfaced at every discussion, was workforce development. We are currently planning a final Advantage Adams panel discussion, which will be open to the public, to share collective results from all the discussions including more information on workforce development as it relates to Adams County and its top industries. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, please consider the state’s relaunched apprenticeship program. More information can be found on state websites, and But please call us with any questions about the program. As always, our services are free and available to the public; we are here to help Adams County thrive.