Apprenticeship 321 program awards Journeyworker certificates
Gaston College Apprenticeship 321 Program Awards Journeyworker Certificates and Welcomes New Apprentices
The Gaston College Center for Advanced Manufacturing hosted a Graduation and Signing Ceremony in September for the Gaston College Apprenticeship 321 program The ceremony recognized two apprentices who earned their nationally recognized Journeyworker Certificates,and welcomed the new cohort of apprentices as they signed contracts with their employers.
Dr. Patricia Skinner, President of Gaston College, greeted the apprentices, their families and guests, and representatives from the sponsoring companies. In her welcoming speech, Dr. Skinner emphasized the need for a skilled, well-trained workforce and lauded the benefits of the Apprenticeship 321 program, which offers participants the opportunity for a free education, on-the-job experience, and a stepping stone to a career.
Dr. Dennis McElhoe, Vice President for Economic and Workforce Development, congratulated the apprentices who completed the program to earn their Journeyworker Certificates, and introduced the new apprentices.
Receiving his Journeyworker Certificate at the ceremony was Edgar Torres, who apprenticed at KACO USA, an automotive parts manufacturer in Lincolnton, N.C., where he works in the set-up department. “The Apprenticeship 321 program for me was a great opportunity,” said Torres. “It opened my eyes to a career I may have never chosen. The program itself helped me get the knowledge I needed to know of how the things I work around all the time actually function. Learning while working helps me actually connect what I learned in class to what I do on a regular day basis. KACO gave me an awesome opportunity and I thank them for that. I enjoy what I do and I would highly recommend this opportunity to high school students; the younger you start your career the better. I plan on continuing my education to receive my associate degree in engineering and from there let’s see what the future has to offer.”
Also recognized at the ceremony was Matthew Biddix, who was unable to attend the event. He completed his two-year apprenticeship at the Gastonia location of Mann + Hummel, the global market leader in the area of filtration.
Ten new apprentices were introduced at the ceremony where they signed contracts with the companies at which they will work while attending classes at Gaston College. The apprentices are employed locally by three different companies.
KACO USA has two new apprentices in its workforce. They are William Wade Hampton, who is a Machine Set-up Operator, and Jose Parreno, an Industrial Machinery Mechanic.
The Timken Company, a world-leading manufacturer of bearings and mechanical power transmission products, will employ four
apprentices at its Lincolnton location. They are Aspen Brown and Randy Craig, both Mechatronics Technicians, and Brandon Lambert and Don H. Laney, both Industrial Machinery Mechanics.
Kathryn Castelloes, ApprenticeshipNC Director with the N.C. Community College System, congratulated the graduates and the new apprentices and addressed the ceremony attendees. “It is exciting to see companies taking advantage of the Apprenticeship 321 program,” she said. “Employers face a persistent problem finding workers with both the education and the practical skills that enable them to perform the functions of the job effectively. Individuals who go through Apprenticeship 321 enter the workforce fully prepared and ready to become valuable contributors at their place of employment.”
Also present at the ceremony was Eric Tillmon, Apprenticeship Consultant with the N.C. Community College System. “I am happy to see the excellent results of the Apprenticeship 321 program,” he said. “The growing number of students who participate, the support and pride their family and friends showed at the ceremony and the satisfaction and enthusiasm the sponsoring companies displayed all speak to the success and great potential for the program. I congratulate everyone involved.”
“The 2018 Apprenticeship 321 graduation/signing ceremony demonstrates the continuing collaboration between Gaston College and the dozen member companies of the apprenticeship in their effort to fill the region’s talent pipeline,” said Dr. McElhoe. “This year marks the beginning of the pre-apprenticeship program in collaboration with Gaston and Lincoln County Schools and we are excited to welcome the program’s first pre-apprentice. Additionally, the 2018 ceremony marked the largest single group of new apprentices since the program’s launch in 2015. On behalf of our president Dr. Patricia Skinner and Gaston College, I congratulate the program’s 2018 graduates and welcome our new pre-apprentice and apprentices.”
Participants in the Apprenticeship 321 program receive job-specific training and a cost-free education from Gaston College while earning a salary from local employers. For more information about the Apprenticeship 321 program, visit https://www.gaston.edu/apprenticeship-321/ or contact Jill Hendrix, Coordinator of Apprenticeship 321 and Continuing Education Programs, at 704-922-6521 or firstname.lastname@example.org..