The Center for Dairy Excellence is looking for individuals to be pre-apprentices in the Dairy Laborer Pre-Apprenticeship Program. In April of 2023, CDE registered a Dairy Herd Manager Apprenticeship with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The Dairy Laborer Pre-Apprenticeship was registered by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry in December of 2023. 

The purpose of this Dairy Laborer Pre-Apprenticeship is:

  • To provide students an opportunity to gain foundational knowledge, information, and skills about the dairy industry.
  • To prepare individuals to enter and succeed in the Registered Dairy Herd Manager Apprenticeship.
  • To allow students to explore and learn about exciting careers in the dairy and agriculture industry.

Learn more about the expectations for pre-apprentices. Click here to submit an online application. Applications are accepted on a rolling admission basis.

Expectations of the Pre-Apprentice

  • The apprentice should be a high school student in grade 11 or grade 12.
  • Farm experience is not required.
  • Must participate in an informational session with the Center for Dairy Excellence Workforce Development Manager.
  • Must complete the OSHA 10 General Industry Agriculture online safety course successfully.
  • Must complete the Introduction to Dairy and the Dairy Herd Management online courses in the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow curriculum with at least 80% mastery. Click here to learn more about the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program.
  • Must spend at least four hours each on two different Pennsylvania dairy farms with the dairy producer and/or dairy herd manager, touring the farm, learning about key areas, and meeting with industry professionals. Note: If the pre-apprentice is employed on a dairy farm, then proof of at least eight hours worked can be used instead.
  • Must participate in check-ins and reviews with the CDE Workforce Development Manager to ensure timely completion of the pre-apprenticeship.
  • Must participate in career development activities with their local CareerLink.


Contact Michelle Shearer at or 570-768-8316 with additional questions.