Young connects 125 Bartram high school grads to in-demand trades careers during graduation rehearsal

PHILADELPHIA, June 10 -- State Rep. Regina G. Young, D-Phila./Delaware on Wednesday hosted a career fair connecting 125 graduating high school seniors to in-demand trades careers at John Bartram High School in Southwest Philadelphia.

 During their final graduation rehearsal, the soon-to-be graduates had the opportunity to network with the city’s largest employers, such as SEPTA, the Philadelphia International Airport, the Philadelphia Shipyard, Associated Builders & Contractors, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98.

“Trades and technical careers have been and continue to be integral to our society. As our economy slowly regains footing in the wake of the pandemic, this ever-expanding field has proven to be sustainable and lucrative, generating opportunities for all,” Young said. “I’m thrilled to see high school graduates celebrating both an end to their high school career and the beginning of a bright future as productive adults in our society. I am especially proud to see this career fair serve as a model in connecting pupils across all 67 counties to the endless career opportunities in trades.”

Vice President of Workforce Development at Associated Builders & Contractors Vincent Console expressed delight that 15 graduates have followed up with the offer to join the apprenticeship program.

“I wanted to thank Representative Regina Young and Bartram High for hosting the career fair yesterday and allowing ABC to talk with your senior students. The level of engagement that they showed in discussing their career options was impressive to everyone on the ABC team,” Console said. “As a result, we are looking forward to seeing several of your students at our pre-apprenticeship information sessions. Again, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the benefits of a career in construction with your students.”

Console also mentioned upcoming pre-apprenticeship information sessions on Wednesday, June 23 at St. Ann’s Convent, 2343 Tucker St., 19125; and on Thursday, June 24 at The New Covenant Church, 7500 Germantown Ave., 19119. Both sessions start at 6 p.m.

Brian Johnson, principal of John Bartram High School, said the students, who have returned to the building for the first time in more than a year because of the pandemic, were excited for the ceremony and career fair.

“This was the first time since March 2020 that this year’s seniors have been back in the building.  So many kids came and seemed excited for the ceremony. Also, important connections were made by our seniors with potential employers,” Johnson said. “Thank you to Representative Regina Young and our John Bartram High School graduation committee administration team.”

Dan Rhoads, CEO of Rhoads Industries, Inc., expressed that the event was successful in networking graduating high school seniors to careers that provide sustainable wages.

"This is a win-win for employers and graduating students. Rhoads Industries, Inc. has a long history of partnering with the city, Philadelphia Works, and other community leaders," he said. "We were excited to participate in this career event, organized by Representative Young’s office in partnership with Bartram High School Administration, to specifically target the graduating class of 2021 to offer potential long-term career opportunities with sustainable wages. This event provided a platform for students to engage with employers who are dealing with a lack of skilled trade workers and an aging workforce. Our civic engagement continues to help create a pipeline of future employees who will have the learn a skilled profession."

The career fair is part of Young’s legislative priority to strengthen workforce development through the creation of a stronger pipeline between high schools and the trades and will serve as a model across the commonwealth to create pathways for young Pennsylvanians to family-sustaining careers.