New School Year: More Students, More Tech & More Hands-On

Ally D'Ovidio

ABC Baltimore’s apprenticeship program has, like the industry it serves, fully emerged from a crippling down-turn that saw its overall number of students drop more than 30 percent. After a summer of interviewing, testing and registering students, the 2016/2017 School Year began with its highest number of students in more than 10 years.

But the summer was spent in doing more than handling the increased number of applicants; the program staff was busy implementing a number of significant changes that will result in enhanced training, more technology, better hands-on laboratories.

Chris Hadfield, ABC’s Director of Education and the head of apprenticeship said, “with the significant increase in apprentices in our program a need was established for updated technology.”

One of the updates this year includes a completely new and innovative mechanical lab for plumbing and HVAC. The lab now includes smart TVs that are used for videos and demonstrational items and brand new tools for in-class practice.

“We are proudest of our updated lab. We put a lot of work into it this summer so that our students could have the best experience possible,” said Hadfield. The program has also doubled its hands-on training for students. “It’s very important for our students to have plenty of practice when it comes to their trade. We want them to be able to apply everything they learn,” said Hadfield.

Over the past two years, the program has developed a successful database that makes it easy for instructors to contact students and stay connected. If there is a class change or cancelation, an instructor can notify students with a text, automated voicemail, and email within seconds.

“The days where we had to pick up the phone and call each student when something came up, has changed. The database has made things much better for both students and instructors,” said Hadfield.

With the increase in students, the program is still in need of instructors, specifically electrical instructors. If you or someone at your company knows anyone interested, please contact Chris Hadfield at chadfield@www.abcbaltimore.org or 410-821-0351 ext. 101.