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VGCC and Dill Air Controls Products join forces with Apprenticeship program

Vance-Granville Community College and Oxford-based Dill Air Controls Products, LLC, recently signed on to join the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), in an effort to provide new opportunities for local students and to prepare a skilled workforce.

NCTAP offers students a unique start to a professional career and develops them into future industry leaders. The program focuses on integrated basic training which develops technical, methodological and social skills. Typically starting in the 11th grade of high school, the four-year program leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at the community college and paid, on-the-job training at the participating employer.

Students in the program will be employed full-time by the company after they graduate from high school, and their VGCC tuition and fees are paid by the employer. Including salary, benefits and college tuition, the value of the program to the student is approximately $150,000 over four years.

VGCC and Dill Air Controls Products are currently spreading the word to students in Vance County and Granville County about this opportunity. The company intends to select its first two apprentices in 2016. They would complete the program in 2020.

Dill Air Controls Products is a leading manufacturer and distributor of tire and tank valves, tire pressure gauges, tire pressure monitoring sensors and service tools for the aerospace, automotive and commercial products industries. Company officials said they were pleased to announce the new partnership with NCTAP and VGCC. “We look forward to participating in this program to grow our employee base with local students who are committed to contributing to the manufacturing industry in Granville County,” said Dill’s President, Brian Rigney.

“This new partnership will support student success while building upon Vance-Granville’s tradition of collaborating with local employers and our local school systems to lead the economic development of our region,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC.

For NCTAP, the college’s involvement represents an expansion into what the apprenticeship program calls its “northern region.” Additional companies will be invited to join the partnership with VGCC. The college will focus on apprenticeships related to the college’s Mechatronics Engineering , Electronics Engineering and Welding Technology programs at first, but other Applied Technologies programs could be involved in the future.

According to NCTAP vice chairman Kent Misegades, his organization is particularly excited to work with VGCC because the college offers the Mechatronics program, which is not currently offered by any community college in the Raleigh-Durham area. “Mechatronics is the way to go for a student in advanced manufacturing, because it trains you in a broad range of skills,” Misegades said.

Zachary Chaney of Roxboro, who works for CaptiveAire in Youngsville as an NCTAP apprentice, recently spoke to representatives of VGCC, Granville County Schools, Vance County Schools and Dill Air Controls. “NCTAP is a great opportunity to work and learn at the same time,” Chaney said. “I feel more confident now, knowing more about all aspects of manufacturing. It’s given me not only a paycheck, but also a sense of pride and accomplishment.”

Misegades said students entering the program must meet certain requirements but are not required to have a certain type of prior experience in the field. He said the program is looking for candidates with an interest in engineering or manufacturing. He plans to hold orientation for participants in March or April of 2016, followed by a pre-apprenticeship program in the summer. Then, students would officially start the apprenticeship in the fall. Misegades noted that NCTAP is registered with the N.C. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor.

For more information about the apprenticeship program, high school students and their parents should talk with their school guidance counselors or contact Ken Wilson at VGCC, at wilsonk@vgcc.edu or (252) 738-3259.


Above:  Gathered at the Dill Air Controls Products facility in Oxford are, from left, Brenda Faulkner, human resources coordinator for Dill; Kent Misegades, vice chairman of NCTAP; Willa Clark, Vance County Schools Career and Technical Education director; Stan Winborne, Granville County Schools Career and Technical Education director; Stephen Tsotsoros, operations manager for Dill; Zachary Chaney, an NCTAP Apprentice; Stephanie Ayers, project manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Alliance; Kelly Dixon, a teacher at Granville Central High School; Emily Sue Temple, instructional management coordinator for Granville County Schools; Tamara Rodebaugh, career development coordinator for Granville County Schools; Ken Wilson, project manager for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant at VGCC; and Keith Shearon, chair of the Applied Technologies department at VGCC.  (VGCC photo)