Milton Hershey School Students Launch Their Careers with a Pre-Apprenticeship Certification in Manufacturing
This week, 12 Milton Hershey School students earned state-recognized pre-apprenticeship certifications in manufacturing. The two-week certificate program—taught in collaboration with the Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania (MASCP) and The Hershey Company—exposed students to the different skillsets necessary to succeed in the field of manufacturing.
Students explored topics such as blueprint reading and shop math to lean manufacturing, food safety, and quality control—in addition to earning their Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10 certification. The program combined classroom and hands-on style learning both on and off campus to provide students with a realistic understanding of what manufacturing is and what career options are available to them in the field after graduation.
“Allowing students to earn a state-recognized pre-apprenticeship certificate in manufacturing exposes them to this vast career field,” shared Sheila Ciotti, MHS Director of College and Career Readiness and Support. “This opportunity debunks myths about the field and helps students understand what manufacturing really is. The 12 students who signed up and completed this program have shown real initiative in their future achievements. I have no doubt that the skills they learned in the last two weeks will fit well into the real world.”
The MASCP—which has more than 400 member organizations including The Hershey Company—has been teaching this course since 2018. Besides providing pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities for students, the MASCP connects students and adults with a pipeline of career options.
“When MASCP created our pre-apprenticeship curriculum, we asked our member organizations what skills they found to be most important for students and young people to know before entering the field of manufacturing,” shared Miranda Martz, MASCP Pre-Apprenticeship Coordinator. “The pre-apprenticeship program truly prepares students with the skills they will need to succeed in a manufacturing career. I really enjoy being able to prepare students—like those at MHS—to find their passion in this field.”
The Hershey Company has worked with the MASCP for many years and continues to offer support and experiences for students and adults interested in manufacturing careers. Similarly, The Hershey Company has expanded its programming with MHS and continues to partner with the school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program to offer real-world opportunities.
The 14 students that participated in the program possess diverse interest and post-graduate goals. For Tia Willis-Cooper and Rashawn Shuler, MHS seniors, who are in the Automotive Technology CTE pathway, were excited about the opportunity to gain basic skills in working with machinery.
“I decided to take part in this program so that I could expand my skillset,” shared Tia. “I hope that I can use this certification to help me gain a faster start to my career.”
The pre-apprenticeship in manufacturing will open up many doors for MHS students in a high demand and high paying career field. These 12 students now have a leg up in the world of manufacturing and are prepared to continue their education or enter right into the world of work.
“Once I learned about the program, I knew it would be worth my time and that I would learn about things I was interested in,” shared Rashawn. “I always wanted to work with cars and do mechanical tasks and I know the pre-apprenticeship program will help me get there.”