Shortly after graduation four years later, Jose was earning upwards of $20 an hour. Today, he works as a safety professional for the company. Of the six graduates that year, four still work for Kinsley. Most, like Jose, have continued to move up the ranks within the company.
“They gave me a chance,” Jose said. “I couldn’t tell you how many opportunities they gave me.”
Response to workplace shortages
Jose was one of the first graduating class members of Kinsley’s apprentice program, which the company formed in response to the declining market for skilled laborers around the turn of the century.
That skilled workforce shortage continues today, both locally and nationwide.
The expected need for construction workers will grow by an average of 12 percent by 2024, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis.
Since its inception, though, Kinsley’s program has graduated 114 apprentices, with more than 75 percent staying with the company.
Apprentices in Kinsley's program are like every other employee; they come in during regular hours and receive regular pay. (Photos by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
‘A vital part of learning’
Apprentices in Kinsley’s program can select one of three different focuses: a four-year focus in carpentry; a four-year focus in highway and bridge; or a three-year focus in iron working.
“It’s a program where the sky is the limit,” says Deb Rohrbaugh, associate director of Kinsley’s apprenticeship programs.
Apprentices are like every other employee; they come in during regular hours and receive regular pay.
It’s not just classwork, either. Kinsley apprentices are sent to construction sites throughout Central Pa. and work on actual projects.
“You’re not just standing back,” Deb says. “We want them to join in and be a vital part of the learning.”