Penn Community Bank has contributed $25,000 to Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) in support of its Workforce Development Division’s new MontcoWorks Apprenticeship Program (MAP).
The MontcoWorks Apprenticeship Program is an “earn-while-you-learn program” that offers students at the college the opportunity to gain in-demand workforce skills and college credits at no cost. Apprentice-students in the program train alongside experienced professionals, receive mentorship and guidance, while earning a steady paycheck from a partnering employer.
Once they complete the program, apprentices receive an industry-recognized credential and will have acquired up to 36 college credits, according to a press release.
Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez, president of Montgomery County Community college, said the bank’s donation is an “important investment in the well-being of our communities and the regional economy.”
“MAP will ensure future generations have sustainable career pathways, which provide a better life for themselves and their families. Similarly, employers gain the skilled workforce needed to stay competitive in the global market,” she said in a statement.
For its part — Penn Community Bank said connecting employers and jobseekers “just makes sense.”
“As a corporate citizen and vital part of the community, it’s our job to support and expand job training efforts in the region to ensure a strong local economy for generations to come,” Bernard Tynes, Penn Community Bank executive vice president and chief marketing and impact officer said in a statement. “We’re grateful for MCCC’s leadership in this space and proud to continue our regional support for job training and workforce development.”
The donation will help fund the associated costs for the college’s Division of Workforce and Economic Development to train mentors for industry partners that will work directly with apprentices — teaching them the tools of their trade and how to grow and succeed in the workplace. At the end of the program, apprentices will be in a position to earn family-sustaining jobs, while also filling a workforce shortage among area employers.
“The MontcoWorks Apprenticeship Program is a pilot program to engage our employers in the Montgomery County region who are facing significant workforce shortages,” Kyle Longacre, dean of workforce and economic development at the college. “We are working to recruit really good apprenticeship candidates for our program and help them prepare to interview with our employer partners.
“We are committed to being industry-guided in our training programs and consistent in working with our advisory board in making program improvements.”
The program will begin with the 24-month industrial maintenance mechanic apprenticeship — an employment and training pathway supporting careers in several high-priority occupations in Montgomery County and beyond. Industrial maintenance mechanics perform maintenance and repairs on machines and work in various fields, such as pharmaceutical production, food processing, medical device, automotive parts, and aeronautical manufacturing. The MontcoWorks Apprenticeship Program began with this career in an effort to address the shortage of workers in this highly in-demand field, according to the release.
According to Longacre, apprenticeship programs change the arrangement between education and industry by bringing the employment of a student to the beginning of the journey, as compared to the middle or the end of the education journey. Companies make a two-year commitment to hire and train inexperienced, students, while the student signs a two-year contract to participate in a dual-curriculum training process with on-the-job training competencies and related technical instruction at the college.
Moving forward with the program, the college said it intends to partner with career and technical centers, area nonprofit organizations and school districts to share opportunities with more students. Existing employees of companies also may enter the program for additional training and college credits.
For more information about the MontcoWorks Apprenticeship Program, visit mc3.edu/apprentice. To find out how to support the program, contact the Montgomery County Community College Foundation at mc3.edu/foundation.
Penn Community Bank operates more than 20 bank branches and three administrative centers in Montgomery and Bucks counties.