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L&I Secretary Visits Milton Hershey School, Highlights Job Training and Apprenticeships

Derry Township, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today toured Milton Hershey School (MHS) in Derry Township and highlighted the importance of registered apprenticeship programs and other job training initiatives to help students and workers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs.

“Milton Hershey School’s hybrid apprenticeship programs combine a pre-apprenticeship with an apprenticeship to provide its students with opportunities and the necessary skills to enter the workforce directly out of school,” said Oleksiak. “Employers across the commonwealth need trained and skilled workers, and through our Apprenticeship and Training Office, we are connecting people with the training they need for those in-demand jobs.”
Expanding job training through apprenticeships are a priority for Governor Wolf.  The governor's $30 million PAsmart initiative includes $7 million to develop and expand registered apprenticeship programs, with the goal of doubling the number of registered apprentices in the state by 2025. PAsmart grants will encourage partnerships with private industry throughout Pennsylvania with on-the-job training and to support science and technology education in fast growing careers.
Oleksiak toured MHS, including the carpentry shop, where students in the Carpentry Career & Technical Education (CTE) Pathway program were constructing play houses, and the culinary arts kitchen, where students in the Culinary Arts CTE Pathway program participated in a timed cooking exercise. Oleksiak met with students and instructors to discuss their respective programs.
L&I’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) and the Apprenticeship Council approved MHS’s pre-apprenticeship program last February, as well as the hybrid apprenticeship program sponsored by the school, and in partnership with Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. The culinary arts program was the school’s first pre-apprenticeship pathway, followed by approval for a new carpentry program last September.
MHS’s hybrid apprenticeship program and registered pre-apprenticeship program, both the first of its kind in the state, connects a student’s work-based learning experiences in high school to a potential career directly after graduation. Students receive credit for in-class and on-the-job training toward their pre-apprenticeship certificate, and in some cases, credit toward their required on-the-job training hours and related technical instruction, as is the case with their affiliation with Pyramid Construction and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Students can also earn college credits (up to 32 for completing the Carpentry apprenticeship, and 41 for Culinary Arts) toward an associate’s degree in a related field at Harrisburg Area Community College.
“We want to provide the opportunity for our students to enter the workforce in their career field of choice directly after high school,” said MHS President Pete Gurt ’85. “Our Career and Technical Education program provides the tools and guidance needed to obtain those fulfilling and sustainable careers without necessarily having to go to college.”
Governor Wolf created the ATO in 2016 to support and expand registered apprenticeship programs statewide. Since then, the office has registered 135 new sponsors and 184 new apprenticeship programs or occupations, bringing the total number of registered apprentices to 16,911 statewide.
Milton Hershey School, established by Milton and Catherine Hershey in 1909, is a cost-free, private, coeducational school in Hershey, Pa. They offer state-of-the-art facilities, advanced technology and hundreds of extracurricular activities to more than 2,000 students from across the U.S. Milton Hershey School’s award-winning Career and Technical Education program prepares students to graduate both college and career ready by combining tailor-made instruction and hands-on learning with the ability to gain industry-recognized certifications and real-life experience through internships and co-op experiences.
For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Penny Ickes or Lindsay Bracale, 717-787-7530 or
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