It's been nearly six months since Stanly Community College (SCC), Preformed Line Products (PLP) and the NC Department of Commerce finalized the pre-apprenticeship program for the Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technology (AMIT) programs. SCC welding students George Culp and Logan Belk were the first to be recruited for the program. Both students have earned their Industrial Manufacturing Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate from the NC Department of Commerce, as well as gained employment at PLP.
The program is geared toward manufacturing students that are interviewed and chosen by PLP. Once chosen, they will work at PLP for nine months while attending classes at SCC. Typically, the student will work 20 hours a week and be paid $12 per hour. To offer a comprehensive learning experience of PLP's manufacturing processes, the pre-apprentices will alternate their work between forming, extruding, and casting. At the end of the nine month period, PLP evaluates each student's performance and decides whether the student will be offered full-time employment.
According to the North Carolina Association of Workforce Development Board's 2014 Employer Needs Survey, a significant percentage of employers throughout the state have reported hiring difficulties. Seventy percent of manufacturing industry respondents reported an applicant's lack of technical or occupational skills as the biggest difficulty, compared to 20% of manufacturing industry respondents citing a lack of soft skills. The report also notes that, "manufacturers were more likely to use community colleges and apprenticeship programs than non-manufacturers," with regard to hiring.
The United States Department of Labor reports that there are significant talent shortages and skills gaps that are slowing companies' efforts to expand, innovate, and thrive. Apprenticeships are a great way to develop a pipeline of talented, high-skilled workers to help businesses grow.
Ms. Pamela L. McGimpsey, NCWorks Apprenticeship Consultant, Workforce Solutions at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, stated, "Through the pre-apprenticeship program, SCC is providing the business community the support necessary to educate the area's workforce. As an employer, Preformed Line Products is taking advantage of these services and has forged a partnership with SCC to develop practically and theoretically the highly skilled craftsmen necessary for the future of their organization."
Dexter Townsend, PLP Shift Supervisor and Pre-Apprenticeship Advisor, commented, "The performance of both George Culp and Logan Belk demonstrates that when education and training are combined with talent and skills the needs of manufacturers are attainable. Their work ethic has been very impressive and it's good to know that we have such resources on the local level."
For more information about PLP's Pre-Apprenticeship Program, contact Jeff Parsons, AMIT Associate Vice President, at (704) 991-0321.
Pictured (front row, left to right): Stanly Community College Welding students Logan Belk and George Culp, Ms. Pamela McGimpsey, NCWorks Apprenticeship Consultant, Workforce Solutions at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and William Beaver, SCC Welding Program Head. Back row: Marion Kinley, SCC's Director of Economic Development, PLP Shift Supervisors Jerry Colson and Dexter Townsend, and Jeff Parsons, AVP for SCC's AMIT programs. Not pictured: Debbie Little, PLP Shift Supervisor and Pre-Apprenticeship Advisor.