Students Fall in for the Fall session of ABC’s Trade School

Ally WetheraldUncategorized

In October, ABC’s ‘Construction Education Academy’ (CEA) is once again providing students with basic knowledge about the trades and entry-level, hands-on experience.

The CEA is a trade school for post-high school students. ABC developed this school to create more of a pipeline for qualified entrants to careers in the skilled trades.

Most students are looking for a new career; some have heard about the program and are curious about it. All students enter the door with little to no knowledge about the various trades. You could consider these classes a “Pre-Apprenticeship” or a fast-paced industry boot camp. Students meet for eight weeks in October or July. At the start of the session, students can explore four different trades: Plumbing, Electrical, Carpentry, and HVAC.

ABC also has a partnership with CCBC which provides “soft skills training,” where students learn interview techniques, successful resume writing tips, communication skills, and conflict resolution. In other words, ABC’s trade school teaches students how to get a job and how to keep it.

CCBC is also there to help them apply for financial aid. Additional help comes by way of Sharon Burley, Assistant Workforce Development Manager, and Chris Hadfield, Vice President of Work Force Development, who seek out other scholarships through various ABC partners.

After four weeks, most students settle on a particular trade that they wish to pursue. That’s when Sharon brings in contractors to interview the students, with the goal of getting them employed by the end of the 8-week session. And according to Sharon, “That does happen very often!”

At the end of the program, students can be automatically transferred into a regular apprenticeship and into the classes that will steer them toward their Journeyman license.

How can ABC members help this process? By looking at resumes.

Sharon explains, “When members receive resumes that show the applicant is not ready for Day One on the job, we ask that member to refer that applicant to us! Our Trade School will provide them with the basic knowledge and experience they need to go to work.”

Sharon also hopes those members will tell her what additional skills and abilities new hires should have. Their feedback will help ABC continue to shape and update the courses in ways that will be even more beneficial to the students and to employers.

Contact Sharon by way of: or 410-821-0351, Ext 122.