Southwest Regional Carpenter Apprenticeship Seminar

Posted on Categories Business, Community, Workforce Engagement, Career Information and Exploration, Employability Skills, NOCTI Prep, Student Engagement, Work-based learning

At a Glance

Through collaboration among eight CTCs in southwest Pennsylvania and the Carpenters Apprentice Union, senior carpentry students attend the Annual Carpenter’s Apprentice Training Career Connection Seminar. Students spend a day at the training center and participate in activities such as mock interviews, sample assessments and relevant carpentry lessons.


The Annual Carpenters Apprentice Training Career Connection Seminar was implemented to address several needs and concerns identified by local carpentry instructors, CTC directors and the Carpenters Apprentice Union. The Apprentice Program is projecting the need for more than 10,000 carpenters over the next five years due in large part to the construction of a new Shell Oil cracker plant and other large building projects in the region.  Carpentry instructors indicated a need for students to practice the NOCTI performance and written assessments. CTC directors expressed concerns about improving the transition for students moving from school into the construction trades. After faculty from CTCs met with representatives from the Carpenters Apprentice Union at the training center, the group decided to develop the seminar to help address these issues.

Senior students attend the annual seminar, which is conducted at the training center and fully staffed by Carpenters Apprentice Union trainers. Student activities include the following:

  • Apprentice Program overview and a tour of the facility
  • Sit for an entrance test that is similar to the apprenticeship exam
  • Share their resumes and take part in mock interviews
  • Complete a hands-on assessment
  • Participate in a blueprint reading lesson

Approximately 80 students from the following eight participating CTCs attended the most recent seminar:

  • Parkway West Career and Technology Center,
  • Mon Valley Career and Technology Center,
  • Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center,
  • Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center,
  • A.W Beattie Career Center,
  • Pittsburgh Carrick High School Carpentry Program,
  • Pittsburgh Westinghouse High School Carpentry Program,
  • Beaver County Career and Technology Center, and
  • Greene County Career and Technology Center.

The CTCs provide transportation and pay $100 to cover lunches for the students. The Apprentice Training Center does not charge for the seminar.

One challenge the seminar organizers face is coordinating student transportation. Because of the varying travel time between CTCs and the training center, students from different sites arrive at and leave the event at different times. Overall, though, with the seminar now in its third year and running smoothly, organizers expect to continue offering it in the same format.


Although attendance is voluntary, a majority of senior students attend the seminar. At Parkway West Career & Technology Center, there has been an improvement in Building Construction NOCTI scores over the past few years. Parkway West also has seen an increase in the number of students entering the union after graduation.


Southwest Regional CTCs

Natasha Johnston, Parkway West CTC Workforce Development/Public Relations Coordinator

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