Apprentice of the Year Award
Every year at our Ice Gala this year, we recognize and honor our Apprentice of the Year Award recipient. The accolade is presented to an apprentice that demonstrates exceptional skills and abilities in and outside the classroom and at their workplace.
For that we developed a 4-step selection process:
- Our company trainers nominate their apprentice(s) and provide written descriptions of the apprentice’s work ethic, training progress, leadership skills, and other relevant qualities
- The trainer nominations were sent to the apprentices’ instructors at Community College of Allegheny County, who added their performance in the classroom
- The feedback from the trainers and instructors was sent to a panel of judges representing education, industry, and workforce development
- A final evaluation of the points given by the GACC to determine the Award winner
- Award Ceremony at the Annual Ice Gala
At our 8th annual Ice Gala, we proudly announced and celebrated the recipient of the Apprentice of the Year Award: Wayne Clark! This award is given to an apprentice who demonstrates a strong work ethic and leadership skills, two qualities that Mason embodies to the fullest. Congratulations, Wayne!
About Wayne: He is a prolific worker who is dedicated to his team’s success. His trainer at Leybold USA Inc. commented that he has completed the most customer requests on his team while maintaining an average response time well below the company’s goal. Wayne’s trainer also remarked that he has proven that the apprenticeship program is a great way to find dedicated, hard-working team members. As Sales Engineer Apprentice customer’s experience is important to him and he often goes out of his way to ensure they have the best service possible. Even more, his instructors noted his commitment to leadership and how engaged he is in classroom material.
A huge thank-you to our judges this year:
- Astrid Friedrich - Head of International Department with the Chamber of Skilled Crafts of South Thuringia
- Janet Ward- Executive Director at Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Development Board
- David Winkler- Vice President of Finance at Allegheny Performance Plastics
- Craig Critchfield- General Manager at Roechling Machined Plastics
We are proud to be able to award the "Apprentice of the Year" award for the first time to Andrew Johnson!
Not only was he brave enough to join us in our pilot program and started as first GACC apprentice at VEKA Inc,, he now is a huge advocate for our program and helps us to spread the word about the opportunities that come with the program.
He helped us recruit several other apprentices and functions as a mentor with his experience he gained over the past one and a half years and his outgoing and charming personality. Andrew is not shy to give us feedback about the apprenticeship program. His feedback is very much appreciated and helped us to continuously improve the training conditions, classroom training and much more.
We cannot express how thankful we are to have Andrew in our program and how proud we are to see him grow and mature.
The Apprentice of the Year Award is a tremendous accolade given to an Apprentice that demonstrates incredible skills and abilities inside and outside the classroom. We choose our annual Apprentice of the Year Award through a five-step selection process:
First, company trainers nominated their apprentice(s) and answered questions regarding the apprentice’s work ethic, training progress, and leadership skills. Next, the trainer’s nominations were sent to their CCAC instructor, who then answered questions about their student’s grades and their teamwork, leadership, and learning skills. Third, the company trainers’ and CCAC instructors’ feedback forms were sent to a panel of four judges representing education, government, and industry:
- Callan Wilcox (Vice President, Commercial Baking Executive, Bank of America)
- Jackie Foor (Director of Organizational Advancement, The Consortium of Public Education)
- Carol Kilko (Deputy Secretary - Office of Business Financing, PA Department of Community and Economic Development)
- John Tkach (Director of Projects, Keystone Development Partnership)
Lastly, the GACC team totaled the scores from the four judges, yielding a winner. This year, when we tallied the points from our judges for the Apprentice of the Year Award, we had an exact tie!
Congratulations to our winners, Andrew Knez, second year Apprentice from Ensinger and Jacob Graleski, first year Apprentice from Impact Guard.
Andrew Knez is described by his company trainer at Ensinger as a very dependable, self-motivated, and always willing to be the first to step forward for new challenges. He presents a true balance across all disciplines: electrical, mechanical, and fabrication contributions. Andrew’s instructors remark that he is one of the most efficient students in class, which is clear through is ability to effectively delegate and keep tasks on schedule. Congratulations, Andrew!
Jacob Graleski is described by his company trainer at Impact Guard as continually researching information and studying the appropriate manuals and schematics to improve his knowledge and skills. Specifically, he has made an impact by simplifying procedures to cut time on repairs and to help save money on excessive orders. In the classroom, Jacob’s instructor remarks that he demonstrates multiple solutions to a question instead of stopping with the first solution that comes to mind. Congratulations, Jacob!
And lastly, thank you to our judges, Callan, Jackie, Carol, and John. Your time and support allows us at the GACC to celebrate and honor our outstanding Apprentices!
At our 6th Annual Ice Gala this year, we recognized and honored our Apprentice of the Year recipient, Brice Williams from VEKA Inc.! The Apprentice of the Year award is presented to an apprentice that demonstrates exceptional skills and abilities in and outside the classroom.
During the selection process, company trainers nominated their apprentice(s) and provided written descriptions of the apprentice’s work ethic, training progress, leadership skills, and other relevant qualities. Then, the trainer nominations were sent to the apprentices’ instructors at Community College of Allegheny County, who added their performance in the classroom. Finally, in the third step, the feedback from the trainers and instructors was sent to a panel of judges representing education, industry, and workforce development:
- Carol Wooten, Schools That Can
- Christopher Martin, Bosch Research and Technology Center
- Ami Gatts, Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board
Brice's trainer described him an extremely driven individual who always seeks “get the job done right.” His ability to think through complex problems and apply solutions that effectively decrease the frequency of breakdowns have led many production personnel to mistake Brice as a seasoned technician. In addition, his excellent communication skills, driven attitude, and effective leadership qualities have allowed Brice to become a stellar role model for new apprentices.
Congratulations, Brice! You more than deserve it!
At our 7th annual Ice Gala on March 4th, we announced and celebrated the recipient of the Apprentice of the Year Award: Mason Montgomery! This award is given to an apprentice who demonstrates a strong work ethic and leadership skills, two qualities that Mason embodies to the fullest. Congratulations, Mason!
About Mason: As a 3rd year Polymer Processing Technician at Ensinger, Mason has been interested in learning everything about plastics and business since day one. He desires to understand both the “how” and “why” of manufacturing processes, as well as the complex interactions between departments. He has smoothly transitioned between crews, always willing to help where needed. Eager to share his apprenticeship experience, Mason has communicated his story to potential new apprentices and top business leaders. In the classroom, Mason further demonstrates a strong commitment to learning and helps younger students avoid mistakes he once made.
A huge thank-you to this year's judges:
- Tara Loew, Director of the Apprenticeship and Training Office at the PA Dept. of Labor & Industry
- Jeremy Anderson, President of Data and Automation
- Joanna Papada, Vice President of External and Government Relations at Manchester Bidwell Corporation
- Jamison Morse, Director of the Structures Division at PVE
- Edgar Largaespada, Director of Industry Strategy at Partner4Work Pittsburgh