The Alamance Career Accelerator Program graduated seven apprentices from its first cohort that began in 2016 at a ceremony held at Alamance Community College on June 3.
The Career Accelerator Program (CAP) is designed for high school juniors and seniors who can earn money on the job as soon as they start the apprenticeship program while also taking college classes. It is a partnership between Alamance Community College, Alamance-Burlington Schools, and a dozen industrial businesses in Alamance County.
The seven industrial students who earned their associate degrees from Alamance Community College last month had worked full-time as apprentices since 2016. They are Matthew Andress, Shawmut Corporation; Benjamin Barr, GKN; Trevor Coffey, Sandvik; Justin Padmos, Fairystone Fabrics; Gabe Redding, Glen Raven, Inc.; Jace Walker, RegO; and Ryan Woods, GKN.
All tuition, books, and fees for the associate’s degree program are covered, so the students graduate debt-free. Upon completion of the program, apprentices earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) from Alamance Community College and have the option to then transfer degree credits to most state four-year universities.
The students also earn specialized certification and experience that is recognized and sought by employers. Many employers offer health insurance, retirement, and paid-time-off benefits to apprentices. Currently 12 participating local companies are members of the consortium. A new cohort of apprentices has been initiated each year since 2016 in Alamance County.
The CAP graduates completed approximately 8,000 hours, comprised of 6400 hours working as apprentices and 1600 hours learning in class, according to Jim Bryan, President of Fairystone Fabrics.
“We don’t just train new workers, but also leaders. And I’m confident that some of you are future leaders in industry. All doors are now open for you,” said Bettina Akukwe, Apprenticeship Implementer at ACC, during the graduation ceremony.
Apprentices have grown by about 80% since Apprenticeship NC began partnering with the NC Community College System in 2016, according to Kathryn Castelloes, Apprenticeship Director for Apprenticeship NC.
“You are some of the most important graduates in our college…About ten thousand Americans reach retirement age every day, and so we need to fill those jobs. It’s one reason the CAP program was created. We could not have been a success with this program if not for the full cooperation of all our partners in this effort,” said Dr. Algie Gatewood, ACC President.
Alamance CAP is recognized by the State of North Carolina as a registered apprenticeship program.