Catalyst Connection Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

November 12, 2020 | Categories: Member News

Catalyst Connection’s Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Apprenticeship Program has Four New Graduates

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania— Catalyst Connection is very proud of the graduates from our group sponsored Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Apprenticeship program. Over the past 18 months, four employees of IGS Industries, located in Washington County (, JR, Tom, Chrissy and Howie, have completed their required classroom training hours and on-the-job training (OJT) competencies. Following their classroom training, the group observed the application of best manufacturing practices during their tour of Schroeder Industries, Allegheny County.

According to one graduate, “This apprenticeship has given me the chance to learn new subjects and refresh the ones I’ve learned through the years. But just as important is that I now appreciate the importance of job relationships with co-workers and just being there for them. A team with a caring and supportive relationship will work well together and move mountains.”

Classroom instruction included the requirement to pass four nationally recognized certificate assessments. All four participants passed and received their Certified Production Technician (CPT) credentials. Other classroom training included Lean 101 Manufacturing, Interpersonal Skills, Practical Problem Solving (PPS) and TWI (Training-within-Industry). Classroom instruction was enhanced with on the job training for PPS and TWI allowing apprentices to display classroom knowledge in a real-world setting.

On-the-Job Training included ten standard IMT competencies with over one hundred related duties and tasks the company customized to fit their business needs. The four apprentices were each assigned an experienced mentor. The mentor demonstrated new skills and provided feedback on the apprentice’s performance of the skills that occurred during normal production hours. Mentors then signed off in each apprentice’s IMT Job Book after the apprentice mastered the skills and competencies.

After completing the required 264 hours of classroom instruction and on-the-job training, they received state registered Journeymen Papers for their Industrial Manufacturing Technician certification.  Due to the success of the first IMT cohort, a second cohort of students is slated to begin in January 2021.

About the Apprenticeship Program: The Industrial Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship is a state registered program that meets the dual needs of both employers who are struggling to recruit and retrain entry level workers, and entry level workers who require higher skills. The program provides production workers with the knowledge and competencies needed in the advanced manufacturing environment and helps entry-level manufacturing workers quickly enhance their skills and advance with their current employer. Using a hybrid approach, the Apprenticeship Program integrates time-based learning combined with competency-based training.

Key features of the IMT Apprenticeship program are stackable apprenticeships that form the foundation for multiple career pathways and industry recognized credentials and college credits. Also, graduates are trained to easily adapt to a variety of manufacturing contexts, company sizes and manufacturing schedules.

Learn more about the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Apprenticeship Program, here.

To learn more about other apprentices in the program watch these videos:

Brendon Lewis, IGS Industries:

Brandon Verscharen, Schroeder Industries:

Tyrrell Kuzbicki, Schroeder Industries:


About Catalyst Connection: Catalyst Connection is a private not-for-profit organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We provide consulting and training services to small manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania, accelerating revenue growth and improving productivity. Through active collaboration with our clients and the manufacturing community, we contribute to the growth, vibrancy, and ongoing robustness of manufacturing in our region.

Catalyst Connection is supported, in part, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development, and by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership.