The U.S. Department of Labor has selected Wayne Community College to be a member of its
first cohort of Apprenticeship Ambassadors.
The college is one of 207 officials and organizations from across the country that will share their
experiences and collaborate with the department to champion apprenticeship opportunities.
In November 2021, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced the Apprenticeship Ambassador
Initiative. It brings together industry, labor, education, equity, and workforce leaders to partner
with the department’s Office of Apprenticeship to promote Registered Apprenticeships as a
valuable workforce strategy in high-demand industries to develop and expand opportunities for
people historically underserved.
The inaugural group of Apprenticeship Ambassadors consists of diverse partners who have
demonstrated a willingness to use their Registered Apprenticeship experience and expertise to
promote and expand these programs across all industries. They were approved for a two-year
The cohort is comprised of community-based organizations, educators, employers, equity
partners, industry associations, labor organizations, state organizations, program sponsors, and
WCC is one of three North Carolina entities in the cohort. The other two are Apprenticeship
Randolph, a collaborative effort between Randolph County industries and Randolph Community
College, and IBM, which is headquartered in the Research Triangle Park.
Wayne Community College’s program, Apprenticeship Wayne, works with local employers to
customize classroom training to meet employer needs and supplement work-based learning. The
collaborative effort enables employers to train employees to fill specific roles.
“WCC provides course-related instruction in a hybrid format, allowing apprentices more time on
the job while still providing a top-quality education,” said WCC Apprenticeship Coordinator
Employers currently engaged in apprenticeships with WCC are Bridgestone Tires of Wilson,
Franklin Baking Company, Linamar Forgings Carolina, Mt. Olive Pickle Company, North
Carolina Manufacturing, Prolec-GE Waukesha, Smithfield Foods, and the County of Wayne.
WCC’s program has been recognized on the state and national level. In 2021, WCC
apprenticeship partner Smithfield Foods was named ApprenticeshipNC’s Outstanding Registered
Apprenticeship Employer. This year, WCC was recognized as a finalist for a Bellwether Award,
a national citation that recognizes community colleges’ best practices, for its submission titled
“Apprenticeships: An Integrated Academic Cohort Model.”
“Apprenticeships are definitely a great way to build and train a better workforce for America,”
Sauls said. “I am excited to represent our college as an Apprenticeship Ambassadowith the U.S.
Department of Labor.”
Those named have committed to hosting 3,367 outreach and recruitment activities, 892 training
sessions, and 717 promotional meetings. They have also pledged to develop 460 new Registered
Apprenticeship programs and 387 resources in their first year as ambassadors.
As an Apprenticeship Ambassador, the college has committed to engaging in at least four
outreach and recruitment activities, which is not foreign territory for Sauls.
“I constantly educate industry partners about apprenticeships and how we can close the
workforce gap and educate potential employees about how apprenticeships can provide them
with a great job and educational training,” she said.
For more about Apprenticeship Ambassadors, go to Apprenticeship.gov.
To learn more about apprenticeship opportunities with WCC, contact Sauls at
[email protected] or 919-739-7063.