PA Children, Employers Need Quality Pre-K: Robin Scheppner

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A lot has changed since 1931 when American Tinning & Galvanizing incorporated in Erie. Our company has been specializing in corrosion control of metal since then, but in 2004 we undertook the rigorous process of becoming certified by the National Aerospace Defense Contractors Accreditation Program. With NADCAP certification, ATG successfully competes for aerospace work outside the Erie region from companies such as Bell Helicopter and others.

ATG now has the credentials and customer base but still struggles to find quality workers. Public education does not offer courses or training in metal finishing (electroplating, anodizing and galvanizing). ATG, and other metal finishers in Erie, must recruit and train their workforces.

Expertise in this industry is a result of on-the-job training. For an employee to excel, he or she must be able to read! NADCAP requirements spell out detailed work guidelines that identify each step of production, from being checked in at the loading dock, assigned a job number, transferred to the proper department, processed according to stringent procedures, quality inspected, packed and checked out for shipping. Any worker, at any of these steps, must be able to read specific directions, comprehend them and be accountable for the signoff at completion.

How does this relate to prekindergarten education? Erie County employers, like ATG, require an educated, motivated workforce to be successful and competitive. There’s widespread recognition that workforce development starts with high quality pre-K that puts our children on the path to reading proficiency and success in school and life.

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