Pathway to PGTI program sees success with first hire

September 6, 2023

NORTH VENICE, Fla. — PGT Innovations (NYSE: PGTI), a national leader in the premium window, door, and garage door industry, is achieving results with its Pathway to PGTI program, as it recently welcomed Andrew Clark, a Venice High School alum, into its four-year apprenticeship program in the Tool and Die Department at the company’s Venice facility, which aims to build interest and awareness in manufacturing career opportunities. The program places PGTI at the forefront of the movement to provide local students with a direct pipeline to rewarding, growth-oriented jobs.

Clark was introduced to PGT Innovations in 2022 as a high school senior enrolled in the Pathway to PGTI program. In the program, Venice High School students spend two hours of each school day at PGT Innovations, with part of that time dedicated to classroom training at PGTI’s on-site training center and the rest of the time working alongside a skilled mentor. The program provides an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to develop skilled trade experience while still in school, and students benefit from a technical education path, guided training, and a viable employment opportunity after graduation.

“At my school, there was a sign-up period for the program, but I missed it,” said Clark. “Later, one of our assistant principals stopped me in the hallway because she knew I liked to weld. She asked me if I wanted to join, and I was ecstatic.”

After completing the Pathway to PGTI program earlier this year, Clark was invited back to PGT Innovations for a full-time paid summer internship opportunity in the Tool and Die department. During his time interning, Clark had access to more hands-on activities throughout the department, including working on the mill and grinder, welding, and learning a variety of new skills.

Upon completion of his summer internship, Clark was admitted into the four-year apprenticeship program for the Tool and Die department at PGT Innovations, starting Aug. 1. Clark is working directly with Mike Edmunds, a Journeyman Tool & Die maker with over 45 years of experience, who will serve as his mentor throughout the apprenticeship.

“I enjoy being a mentor because I’m passionate about what I do,” said Edmunds. “Especially when you get someone like Andrew who has a new interest in the craft, and you can see it in their eyes. Doing this for over 45 years, you tend to forget where you started. When these young individuals come in, it brings back a lot of memories.”

PGT Innovations launched its apprenticeship program, sponsored by CareerSource Suncoast, in 2018 for the Tool and Die Department, and currently has one in development for Line Maintenance. The apprenticeship programs must be designed, developed, and then approved by the Department of Education before they can operate.

“We are thrilled to see the results of this promising initiative,” said Rachel Evans, Vice President of Human Relations at PGT Innovations. “The Pathway to PGTI program is a shining example of what we can achieve right here in our community.”

As per the Department of Education’s annual apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship report for 2021-22, an increasing number of employers across the state are recognizing the value of such programs, with 275 active apprenticeships, 53 active pre-apprenticeships, and 3,600 participating employers reported.

As PGT Innovations continues to lead the industry in workforce development, it proudly champions the impact of innovative programs like Pathway to PGTI in shaping the future of manufacturing.