Before starting his apprenticeship with Smithfield Foods, Inc., Lavar Elliott had worked for the company for more than three years. He knew to further advance his career something had to change. That change Elliott was seeking was the apprenticeship program Smithfield Foods was starting.
“I knew I wanted to move from the slicing hall into maintenance. For that to happen I would need the experience and the educational training to be promoted.”
With the help of Smithfield Foods Talent Development Training Specialist, Clarence Scott, Elliott would become part of the first wave of apprentices in partnership with Wayne Community College.
“Prior to learning what an apprenticeship program was, I really was not interested at that time in being an apprentice. Scott quickly explained to me that I would be getting in-class training and maintenance training while getting paid. With his encouragement I signed up for the program,” says Elliott.
While there are several benefits to being an apprentice, Elliott says there is one that helped him make the decision to join the apprenticeship program.
“Knowing that I’m gaining knowledge in areas that will help my career is the biggest benefit for me. I think knowledge is one of our greatest resources. Having access to paid training and being able to take classes at Wayne Community College is something I don’t take for granted. Smithfield Foods and the school have been a great support system for me. I know I would not have the industry experience and skills without their help.”
Elliott will graduate in the spring of 2023 with an associate degree in industrial systems.
For information about the apprenticeship options available through other local industries and Wayne Community College, contact Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning Coordinator Kristie Sauls at 919-739-7063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.