What are Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are employer-driven training programs that combine on-the-job learning with job related classroom training.  Typically lasting between 1 and 4 years in length, apprenticeships build worker skills and establish pathways to higher levels of employment and wages.  

Apprenticeship meets business needs for qualified workers in more than 1,000 occupations, including careers in health care, information technology, transportation, and energy.  Apprenticeship programs can include one or multiple companies, can be time-based or competency-based, and are fully customizable to meet specific employer needs.

Why are they valuable?

Apprenticeships are win-win, benefitting  both employers and workers. 

Employers gain talent with the specific skills their businesses need to compete and grow.  Apprenticeships contribute to higher performance outcomes and reduce worker turnover by fostering greater employee loyalty.  The mentorship-oriented training approach also allows companies to preserve the institutional knowledge possessed by their retiring workforce.  

Apprentices earn a competitive wage from day one, providing workers with an opportunity to earn-while-they-learn. They gain knowledge with structured classroom learning and on-the-job training, and receive an industry recognized credential that helps them advance their career.  Apprentices also often earn academic credits that can be applied towards an advanced degree.  


What is KDP currently doing?

KDP is currently engaged in a number of activities that are building the apprenticeship ecosystem in Pennsylvania, including:

  • Supporting the Pennsylvania Apprenticeship & Training Office (ATO) to conduct outreach and work with businesses to launch new or expand existing Registered Apprenticeship (RA) and Pre-Apprenticeship (Pre-RA) programs.
  • Supporting the PA AFL-CIO as a Group Sponsor to register new RA and Pre-RA programs for local unions and their employers.
  • Creating an Apprenticeship Intermediary RA program to increase the support available to start new RA and Pre-RA programs in the Commonwealth. 

How can KDP help you?

If you are interested in starting or supporting an apprenticeship program, we can help.  KDP assists companies with all aspects of developing apprenticeship programs, including registration, customizing curriculum, identify training partners, and validating work processes.  We support training providers to sponsor and manage apprenticeship programs and develop related curriculum.  And KDP helps public agencies develop and grow apprenticeship initiatives, including assistance with program management, staff capacity building, and employer and union engagement.  

Contact Us to Get Started

FEATURED apprenticeship: Industrial manufacturing technician (IMT)


KDP is currently helping businesses across Pennsylvania to develop IMT apprenticeship programs.

The IMT apprenticeship was developed to meet manufacturing firms’ needs to upgrade the skills of the frontline production workers.  The IMT on-the-job learning and related instruction are relevant in manufacturing settings ranging from food processing or metal fabrication to plastics or bio-medical production, and can be customized to a particular firm’s criteria.  Upon completion of training, workers earn nationally recognized manufacturing journey worker credentials.

The 18-month or 3,000-hour apprenticeship trains workers to:

•   Set up, operate, monitor, and control production equipment
•   Help improve manufacturing processes and schedules to meet customer   

•   Understand manufacturing as a business system that integrates multiple 

      disciplines, processes, and stakeholders
•   Efficiently and safely manage raw materials and consumables

The IMT is endorsed and supported by the AFL-CIO.

Watch a Video to Learn More

Mentorship Program

Mentorship is an important aspect of all apprenticeship programs.  KDP offers a one day train-the-trainer program for mentoring that will help your incumbent workers become effective mentors to your apprentices.  

View Course Summary

View Curriculum Outline 


John Bond, Talent Development Specialist at First Quality

"Keystone Development Partnership has been instrumental in First Quality gaining and sustaining our apprenticeship programs that have been successful over the past two years. They avail us of any opportunities and external resources and are consistently available to us whenever we have any questions or concerns. They are incredibly professional and a true asset to the team here at First Quality.

Tom Palisan, Executive Director, The Manufacturers' Association

“KDP’s expertise in mentor training, best practices and development of new programs has allowed the Manufacturers’ Association to expand our registered apprenticeship program and grow our regional manufacturing economy.”

Deb Killmeyer, Assistant VP & Dean, Community College of AlleghenyCounty (CCAC)

"KDP has been instrumental in providing support to CCAC.  Their guidance provided while developing our PA–registered IMT apprenticeship program was extremely beneficial.  KDP has been invaluable in sharing knowledge and providing guidance as we build the foundation of our apprenticeship program."

Rhandi Berth, Vice President, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership

"WRTP/BIG STEP has worked with KDP on innovative labor management training programs for many years.  Recently,  we have worked together closely with other intermediaries on an eight state collaboration to promote the Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship.  We look forward to our future work together."