Nine students at the Carbon County Career and Technical Institute (CCTI) in Jim Thorpe graduated recently from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative Program.

All nine graduates achieved perfect attendance and were awarded certificates of completion.

Participating and speaking at the graduation celebration where Tony Pondish, Carbon Career and Technical Institute Director of Adult Education; Eve Centrelli, Executive Director Northeastern PA Labor Management Council; Bill Richards, representing State Senator John Yudichak; and Steve Armillay, Pre-Apprenticeship Project Coordinator.

Bill Richards presented each student with a letter of congratulations on behalf of Senator Yudichak and the Labor Management Council presented gifts to each student as well..

Graduates were, Derek Ahner and Kevin Gray from Panther Valley; Sean Daily, Aaron Papay, and Nick Sickonic from Palmerton; Dana Dunbar and James Newman from Jim Thorpe; and Tyler Merkel and Justin Wingert from Lehighton.

The Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative is a program for high school seniors interested in careers in the building and construction trades.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative Program seeks not only to provide the trades with qualified applicants but also to provide opportunities for high school seniors for careers with family sustaining wages and good benefits.

The program is supported by four Workforce Investment Boards - Lackawanna, Luzerne/Schuylkill, Northern Tier, and Pocono Counties.

Funded by an Industry Partnership Grant, the Northeastern PA Labor Management Council is the project manager for this program.

Participating high school seniors take a 12 week after school program that prepares them to successfully enter into a building trades apprenticeship program.

They learn the basic math and are introduced to construction safety and work readiness skills needed to prepare them to take and pass an apprenticeship exam and successfully complete the interview process.

Presenters from the building and construction trades come into classrooms and speak to the students about their particular trade and many of them opened their training centers on Saturdays.

This gave the students a better idea of what its like to be in an apprenticeship program.

The program instructors were George Cope, Diane Hyjurick, Hal Resh, Jeff Bobish, Gary Rodgers, Al Donadi, and Marie Dunn.

For more information on the Northeastern Pennsylvania Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative Program, contact Eve Centrelli, Executive Director Northeastern PA Labor Management Council at (570) 820-9501 or email at