Five Vance-Granville Community College students were among 14 who committed to participate in the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP) at a signing ceremony in Wake Forest in August.
In addition to the signings, five students were honored as the first graduates of the program, which was held in the Wake Forest Renaissance Center on Aug. 14.
“This evening marks the beginning of 14 new careers and the next chapter of the careers of our first five apprentices,” said Mark Bertoncino of Bühler Aeroglide Corp. of Cary, chairman of NCTAP and master of ceremonies for the ceremony. “It is the culmination of years of hard work by the many people in this room and the first real living proof that our program is not only a success but that our apprentices are destined for great things.”
The students are now apprentices with nine industries in Granville, Franklin and Wake counties as they finish high school and earn their associate’s degrees at either VGCC or Wake Technical Community College. VGCC students Jacob Pitts of Durham will be working at Dill Air Controls Products LLC in Oxford; Marshall Cook of Youngsville, Jared Gladki of Roxboro and Joseph Peace of Oxford will be working with Revlon Inc. of Oxford; and Isaac Wier of Franklinton will be at Superior Tooling in Wake Forest.
Working through Wake Tech, the signees and the other companies were: Lariston Pierce, Accu-Fab Inc. of Raleigh; Grace Leapley, Josey Baker, Jacob Ganzzermiller and Greg Smith, Bühler Aeroglide Corp. of Cary; Marc Dickerson, CaptiveAire Systems of Youngsville; and Michael Benjamin and Brian Sublette, Schunk Intec Inc. of Morrisville.
As each made a commitment to follow the program, the students were joined on stage for the signing ceremony by their parents and employers from the participating industries.
“Because of our collective efforts, these students have a new seamless career pathway to better futures,” said VGCC Interim President Dr. Gordon Burns. “While in school, these apprentices have the opportunity to receive real-life, on-the-job training skills and related training, and simultaneously to earn high school credits and college credits toward a degree. Following their graduation, they are offered opportunities for continued workforce learning as they progress towards their journeyman’s credential and advance in their careers.”
“Students win and so do parents,” he added. “Businesses and industry representatives certainly win. Having this apprenticeship program is a pipeline for new workers.”
The program gives industry a chance to train the young workers on the latest equipment, to use their employees as mentors and to develop future leaders in the companies and in the communities, Dr. Burns said.
NCTAP is a partnership that seeks to provide new opportunities for local students and to prepare a skilled workforce. Typically starting in the junior year of high school, NCTAP is a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at the community college and paid, on-the-job training at the participating employer. Eligible students’ tuition is covered by a waiver from the state of North Carolina. After they graduate from high school, students in the program will be employed full-time by the company.
In the graduation portion of the ceremony, Wake Tech students Luke Fouts, Alex Gaither, Mason Hurlbut and Simon Mitchell, apprentices at Bühler Aeroglide, and Dylan Beckwith, at Schunk Intec, were recognized as the first graduates of the apprenticeship program.
Also on the program were N.C. Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake; Dr. Stephen Scott, president of Wake Tech; and Maureen Little, vice president of economic development for the North Carolina Community College Systems.
Sen. Barefoot, who has announced his plans to retire from the North Carolina Legislature, was presented with a special recognition for his support of the apprenticeship program statewide. He has been praised for helping in getting legislation changed to boost the apprenticeship program. Whereas companies previously had to pay the state to have an apprentice, Barefoot helped enact legislation that now has the state providing reimbursement for tuition.
Representing VGCC’s NCTAP participating industries at the ceremony Steve Tsotsoros and Vanessia Alvarado of Dill Air Controls and Mike Jones of Revlon. Also present from the VGCC TechHire program were Ken Wilson, project manager, and Tiffani Polk, academic and career coach. All schools participating in NCTAP can send students to the educational partner institution that best meets the needs of the industrial partner, Wilson said.
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Above: The five latest VGCC apprentices inducted to the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program joined with representatives of their new employers and Vance-Granville Community College officials on Aug. 14 at a signing ceremony in Wake Forest. From left are Dr. Gordon Burns, VGCC interim president; Vanessia Alvarado of Dill Air Control Products; Ken Wilson, TechHire grant project manager for VGCC; Jacob Pitts, Dill apprentice; Steve Tsotsoros of Dill; Marshall Cook, Revlon apprentice; Jared Gladki, Revlon apprentice; Mike Jones of Revlon; Joseph Peace, Revlon apprentice; Isaac Weir, Superior Tooling apprentice; Craig McLean of Superior Tooling; and Tiffani Polk, TechHire academic and career coach for VGCC. (VGCC Photo)