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Palmer Pathways becomes a State-Recognized Apprenticeship Preparation Program

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

In February 2021, Palmer Scholars applied to the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC) to have our Palmer Pathways initiative recognized as a formal Apprenticeship Preparation program. At the Council’s quarterly meeting in April, our request was approved unanimously with very strong endorsements from Chairman Mark Riker and Vice-Chairman Ron Storvick. This recognition will be integral in propelling the young adults Palmer Pathways serves into apprenticeship, additional education, and quality family-wage employment!

“This is great. This is the right stuff…you’re helping us solve a problem that we need help solving, and your timing couldn’t be better. I’ll be voting for this as enthusiastically as I possibly can!” – Mark Riker, Chairman, WSATC.

Palmer Pathways is a two-year-old initiative of Palmer Scholars that serves young adults who experience barriers to attaining gainful and meaningful employment. In its first year, Palmer Pathways staff facilitated the program in a completely virtual environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lessons learned from this first cohort inspired the research and development of Palmer Pathways’ second iteration as a multi-path construction-focused pre-apprenticeship model.

Palmer Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship Model

“Pre-apprenticeship recognition rings in a new era for young adults in our community – equitable access to construction trade career opportunities. We are grateful for our partners, Advisory Board, and teammates who played critical roles in the redesign efforts. The PPPA is a program formed from focus, drive, intentionality, and most importantly – heart.” -Christina Rupp, Director of Postsecondary Pathways, Palmer Scholars

Palmer Pathways staff sought input from industry leaders, created the Palmer Pathways Advisory Board, and formed partnerships with service providers, unions, and businesses to create a success pipeline for young adults moving through the Pathways initiative.

Equipped with WSATC’s recognition, the Palmer Pathways team is ready to launch the Palmer Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship program (PPPA). PPPA will guide young adults through six weeks of training that includes career exploration, soft skills development, safety training and physical conditioning, and foundational construction trades knowledge. Scholars then choose to move directly into employment, enroll in a postsecondary institution, or continue on to PPPA’s eight-week intensive, construction trades pre-apprenticeship training, building on the first six weeks’ learning with the goal of preparing them for entry into a full-blown apprenticeship program. Young adults who complete the PPPA program will have preferred or direct entry into a number of partner apprenticeship programs, including the Western Washington Masonry Trades Apprenticeship, Pierce County Roofer’s Apprenticeship, Ironworkers Local 86 JATC and the NW Laborers Apprenticeship.

“Seeking pre-apprenticeship recognition was a huge step toward establishing the necessary partnerships to ensure our Scholars are able to attain gainful employment after they complete our training. We are beyond excited for what this means for young adults in our community, and for the future of our local workforce!” -Jonathan Jackson, Executive Director, Palmer Scholars

We aim to welcome our next cohort in September 2021, with a second cohort beginning in Spring 2022.


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