Abel Personnel celebrates 50 years of innovation in staffing Central Pennsylvania businesses and schools in March 2019. A successful second-generation family business, Abel Personnel keeps pace with one of the tightest job markets in memory by providing the top talent clients need.
While statistics show that only 30 percent of family businesses survive the transition from founders to the second generation, Abel Personnel has bucked the odds. Today, Abel Personnel offers direct hire, temp-to-hire, contract staffing, and temporary staffing solutions.
Franklin Abel was a veteran of the former Harrisburg Grocery Company and the fledgling Rite Aid when he joined Tom McConnell and founded Abel-McConnell Personnel in March 1969 working in exclusively permanent placement. In the days when jobs were advertised and filled by gender, Franklin Abel’s wife, Dorothy Abel, stepped in to help with women’s interviews for two weeks and stayed for 18 years.
Abel Personnel has innovated with changing times. The firm saw early growth when the partners made the snap decision to acquire Hallmark Personnel in 1970. In 1979, the “Abel Girl” division, founded in 1977, was rebranded as “Abel Temps.” When McConnell retired that year, the firm became Abel Personnel. As staffing-agency trends shifted from permanent to predominantly temporary placements, Abel Personnel adapted.
“I don’t think we had a plan,” said Franklin Abel last year, who remained involved in the firm until his death in December at the age of 92. “We did what we could, and whatever we did, we did well. The people that we hired were gems. We treated people nicely and fairly.”
Current president, Deborah Abel, daughter of founder Franklin Abel, guided the firm through the technology age after joining as marketing manager in 1990. Since becoming president in 2001, she has followed in her parents’ footsteps by maintaining and building a seasoned team devoted to identifying and evaluating candidates’ skills, needs, and goals, while providing extensive training and workplace supports.
In today’s tight labor market, business clients save time and money through Abel Personnel’s recruitment, screening, and training from a pool of qualified candidates.
“There are a lot of hurdles to applying for jobs on the internet,” said Deborah Abel. “People feel their résumés go to an empty void. If they apply with us, they have a sense that they can talk to a human being who can be their advocate and helping them with their career.”
Steelton-Highspire School District Assistant Superintendent, Mick Iskric, experienced an “unbelievable” difference when the district contracted A+ Teachers to solve challenges in quality and quantity of substitute teachers.
“We wanted to support our teachers in giving them professional development opportunities,” Iskric said. “If we need to send teachers to training, having A+ Teachers helps maintain classroom momentum. We’re not missing a beat. The regular teacher can come back knowing it’s not going to be a day of instruction lost.”
Operating today as a certified women’s business enterprise (WBE), Abel Personnel has long been a champion of women in the workplace. Female staff included one early hire who started as a receptionist and rose to vice president of recruiting during her 42 years with the firm. Another key hire in the early days of the temporary business became vice president of operations.
The Abels are proud of the success of their staff and their placements, many of whom remain friends.
One candidate became an insurance executive after gaining experience with Abel. Another placement started as an entry-level accountant and became president of a significant local company. Whatever the level of the position, Abel has helped thousands of people find rewarding careers over the last 50 years.
“We are not only interested in placing people and doing business, but we were truly interested in helping them,” said Deborah Abel. “My parents taught me that you always treat everyone the way you want to be treated, and that’s why Abel-placed personnel are the right match for the job.”