Gaston College Apprenticeship 321 program named Outstanding Apprenticeship Partner

Gaston College Apprenticeship 321 program named Outstanding Apprenticeship Partner

Apprenticeship 321 Award PhotoThe Gaston College Apprenticeship 321 program was recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Apprenticeship Partner at the ApprenticeshipNC Conference virtual award ceremony on April 28, 2021. ApprenticeshipNC is part of the North Carolina Community College System.

The letter announcing the award stated that nominees for the ApprenticeshipNC conference awards “are an asset to their workplace and truly represent the best practices of the Apprenticeship model in North Carolina.” Kathryn Castelloes, Director of ApprenticeshipNC said, “We are very excited to have Apprenticeship 321 recognized for all of their great work in Registered Apprenticeship.”

“I am so excited, thankful and humbled by this recognition,” said Jill Hendrix, Director of Apprenticeships and Work-based Learning. “It takes a village to run an Apprenticeship program and we have so many awesome people who are a part of Apprenticeship 321. From all the Gaston College staff and faculty – past and present – we get to work with, the High School CTE Coordinators and Teachers, ApprenticeshipNC, our community partners, and of course the Partner Companies and the current and graduate apprentices. We are beyond blessed to be part of this extraordinary program that so positively impacts the student/employee, their family and the company they work for.”

Dr. George Hendricks, Associate Dean of Career and Technical Education, and Tanya Osbia, Apprenticeship 321 Success Coach, are also part of the program’s leadership team. Virgil Cox, who was the Dean of Engineering and Industrial Technologies prior to his retirement in 2019, also was instrumental in the development of the program as well as Diane Metcalf, former Director of Community and Continuing Education, who retired in 2019.

“I’m proud to be part of the team that has made Apprenticeship 321 such a success and earned this well-deserved recognition,” said Dr. Hendricks. “When Virgil Cox and I first conceived the idea of creating an apprenticeship consortium to serve the industries and students in our community in 2013, we could only dream of the positive impact it would have. This award shows that dream has become a reality through the hard work of so many great people at Gaston College.”

Apprenticeship321 was co-founded by Dr. Dennis McElhoe, the former Vice President for Economic and Workforce Development, who retired from Gaston College in 2020. Upon hearing of the recognition for the program, he said, “I was very happy to learn that Apprenticeship 321 was recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Apprenticeship Partner. This recognition is a testament to the work of Gaston College’s faculty and staff in their efforts to assist the region’s employers in developing a world class workforce. It is also a testament to the effective partnerships established with regional employers over the years since the program’s founding in their combined effort to provide the citizens of Gaston and Lincoln counties with exceptional educational opportunities that result in highly respected and well-paid careers.”

Dr. McElhoe added, “My congratulations to Ms. Jill Hendrix, Dr. George Hendricks, Associate Dean of Career and Technical Education and Ms. Tanya Osbia on their outstanding work that resulted in this recognition.”

Apprenticeship 321 was the first N.C. community college-based apprenticeship program when it was launched in 2015. It is a consortium of local businesses and municipal agencies that offer apprenticeships. Participants in the program receive job-specific training and a cost-free education from Gaston College while earning a salary from their employers.


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