Thursday, July 17, 2014
Eleven juniors and seniors from six Lowcountry high schools officially became apprentices June 25 during a signing ceremony for the inaugural class of the Youth Apprenticeship Program in Manufacturing.
Recognizing industry's demand for more skilled labor in the region, coupled with a need for an alternative career pathway for high school students, local manufacturers, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, high schools in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, and Trident Technical College created the European-style apprenticeship program to grow the next generation of highly skilled workers for the resurgent manufacturing sector.
The students will work as paid industrial mechanic apprentices at Bosch, Detyens Shipyards, Hubner Manufacturing, IFA Rotorion and VTL Group starting this August.
Students will take high school classes in the morning and TTC industrial mechanics courses for dual credit in the afternoon twice a week. They will also receive paid on-the-job training through mentored employment throughout the year.
To ensure that all of the students who applied had an equal opportunity to participate in the program, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce offered to provide scholarships for every apprentice student. The scholarships will cover the entire cost of tuition and books.
By the time the students complete their two-year apprenticeships, they will have earned a high school diploma, an Industrial Mechanics certificate from Trident Tech, a journeyman credential from the U.S. Department of Labor, and two years of paid work experience.
Trident Tech plans to expand the manufacturing apprenticeship program next year and add new apprenticeships in other sectors. The college is already working on new youth apprenticeship programs in machining and information technology. The college says it can create apprenticeships in any sector where there is a need. Companies interested in creating apprenticeships should contact Mitchell Harp, Trident Tech's director of apprenticeships, at 843-574-6979. Students interested in participating as an apprentice for the 2015-16 school year should contact Melissa Stowasser, Trident Tech's director of high school programs, at 843-574-6312.