Tom Palisin, executive director, the Manufacturers’ Association, in the new Center of Excellence’s shop

This column was published in the Gettysburg Times, May 13, 2021

Need some positive news? One of the brightest spots on the region’s economic horizon is thanks to our partner the Manufacturers’ Association, located in York and serving the south central PA region.

Their new Center of Excellence (COE) for Apprenticeship and Training opened its office doors in January and continues to ramp up into a full, official opening—which will expand training and education to support the region’s innovative, growing and thriving manufacturing industry.

“For many years, access to talent and training has been the priority for our manufacturing sector in south central PA,” said Tom Palisin, executive director of the Manufacturers’ Association. “One of the strategic priorities of the Association and Board of Directors was to address the growing skills gap in manufacturing. We decided that the Association needed to take on a leadership position and invest our own resources to develop manufacturing talent for the region, which led to the creation of the Center of Excellence for Apprenticeship and Training.”

Tom identifies goals for the COE as:

  • To be a center of innovation and knowledge for apprenticeships and workforce development in the region. For example, the Manufacturers’ Association just launched a new Robotics Apprenticeship, the first 4-year program in the state!
  • To educate the regional communities and employers about the value and opportunities of apprenticeships.
  • To expand the use of apprenticeships in manufacturing to help employers attract and retain talent.
  • To increase training capacity beyond its current total of 2,000 individuals annually.
  • To highlight the importance and growth of manufacturing within the regional economy especially through hiring during the past 10 ten years.

To say the facility is state-of-the-art is an understatement! Here are just some of the features:

  • 12,000 square feet
  • A machine shop equipped with 22 pieces of manufacturing equipment
  • Computer/CNC Training Room with 14 workstations
  • Five training rooms plus event and meeting space

“The new COE will mean additional resources to the region for developing and retaining the future manufacturing workforce,” Tom explains. “Currently in south central PA there are over 3,700 open positions in manufacturing. In the next 10 years we may see a gap of nearly 13,000 high skill trades in manufacturing.”

The Alliance is one of numerous organizations in the region partnering with the Manufacturers’ Association in order to utilize the COE’s exciting new capabilities!

How was this tremendous project possible? Tom credits Manufacturers’ Association membership for support and donations, especially the Powder Mill Foundation and Warehime Foundation.

If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned to the Alliance’s social media channels, eBlasts and eNewsletters. (To subscribe, see the home page of our website.) We will share details of the Manufacturers’ Association’s mid-summer open house including tours!

We are grateful for their leadership and vision in guiding this exciting industry into the future. To learn more about the Manufacturers’ Association, see

Kaycee Kemper is Vice President of Adams Economic Alliance, which comprises three organizations: The Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC), the Adams County Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA) and the Adams County General Authority (ACGA). For more information, see, or follow us on Twitter (@AdamsAlliance), Facebook ( and LinkedIn (Adams Economic Alliance).