Two SPX Transformer Solutions employees have graduated from apprentice to journeyman.
Billy Patterson of Grantham and Robert Reinhold Jr. of Mar-Mac completed the SPX Apprenticeship program and earned journeyman certificates from the North Carolina Community College System’s ApprenticeshipNC initiative and the United States Department of Labor.
The two received on-the-job training as maintenance technicians at the SPX plant in Goldsboro while working toward an associate in applied science degree in Industrial Systems Technology at Wayne Community College. At this point, they have completed the requirements for journeymen status and can earn their degrees in the next year.
“They made a decision that they didn’t just want to work at SPX, they wanted to make a major difference,” said Jamie Humphrey, SPX training program and curriculum coordinator. “They knocked it out of the park.”
Prior to the apprenticeship program, Reinhold had worked as “winder” on the plant. Patterson went to work at SPX because of the apprenticeship opportunity.
“It takes a lot of commitment and hard work to go to college, go to work, and take care of your personal lives,” ApprenticeshipNC Field Supervisor Dale Yarborough told the men. “You will make a difference in SPX and the community.”
“They have taken anywhere from two to three classes per semester, even through COVID,” said WCC Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning Coordinator Kristie Sauls.
Sauls noted that they were the first two apprentices she registered for classes when she moved into her job in 2019, adding, “today I get to see you graduate.”
She relayed that she had observed them coming to class straight from working night shift.
“There were times I’m sure they wanted to quit. I’m sure there were times that [between] their family life, [and] their work life, they were like, ‘why do I have to go to school?’” Sauls said. “But you persevered and made it through, and here we are today.”
ApprenticeshipNC, which is part of the North Carolina Community College System, works with businesses, industry groups and other organizations to establish registered apprenticeships in North Carolina.
The registered apprenticeship program meets the needs of employers by providing the employee with structured on-the-job learning, related instruction, and a progressive wage scale. Registered apprentices earn state and national credentials certifying their skills.
Most of the North Carolina’s community colleges provide classroom instruction that accompanies apprentices’ work-based training. Thirty-one of the state’s 58 community colleges have established apprenticeship programs in partnership with local businesses.
ApprenticeshipNC served 15,657 North Carolinians during fiscal year 2019-2020, the most in the past 10 years. The number is 37 percent higher than the previous year’s total.