Workforce development is top of mind for many people in this current economic climate. All industries are feeling the stress of the lack of workers. Where did they go?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer or quick fix—here’s one probable cause, as well as a step towards a solution:

During the pandemic, many people retrained out of necessity. Empty hotels and restaurants left hospitality workers without work, while the mandated shutdown shuttered thousands of businesses. The lack of childcare exacerbated the issue and many became stay-at-home-parents. Corporations offered early retirements to thousands of workers. A lot of institutional knowledge left the workforce with this mass exodus of people.

Now, more than ever, employee training and upskilling is critical to the U.S. economy. The Adams Economic Alliance realizes that in order to retain and grow our existing business base, it is critical to consistently add to our pipeline of quality, knowledgeable and reliable workers.

That’s why we began researching pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that exist in our region. We are fortunate to work with a great group of partners who graciously shared their time, talents and insights. Here’s what we learned:

First, we picked the brains of the leadership team who created apprenticeship programs to support Hanover area businesses. Gary Laird and his team at the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce coordinate these successful apprenticeship programs.

Next, we toured The Manufacturer’s Association, located in York, where they offer many training programs, with a current enrollment of more than 100 apprentices. This year, they are on pace to train more than 3,000 workforce professionals for businesses in our region!

Our third piece of outreach was with HACC’s Workforce Development team—with whom we partnered on many apprenticeship programs in the past. So it’s especially exciting to revive these programs in Adams County! HACC offers a variety of apprenticeship programs that will dovetail with our current workforce needs, such as their hospitality apprenticeship.

There’s one more important piece of the puzzle: Now, we need the business community to be involved.

The Alliance has brought the education providers back to the table. These programs only work if businesses take advantage and participate in them. This would complete the circle and reinvigorate Adams County’s talent pipeline, filling much-needed positions.

Brady Rodgers is our Director of Business & Community Outreach. He will be hitting the streets of Adams County, meeting with businesses, ready to discuss your workforce challenges. Brady brings a wealth of workforce development knowledge to our team and can guide your business towards solutions—and in some cases, even resources that could pay for a portion of the apprenticeships. To schedule an appointment with Brady, please reach out to him at [email protected].

Let’s work together to retrain, reinvigorate—and reset—Adams County’s workforce.

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). Follow us on Twitter (@AdamsAlliance), Facebook ( and LinkedIn (Adams Economic Alliance).

This article originally published in the Gettysburg Times, September 8, 2022.