WCC, LCC Launch Summer Youth Apprenticeship Program

WCC, LCC Launch Summer Youth Apprenticeship Program

Wayne Community College and Lenoir Community College recently held a kickoff celebration for high school students selected to participate in their summer youth apprenticeship program.

The inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Academy, launched by the Southeastern Education and Economic Development (SEED) initiative, was created through the NC Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). A total of 35 students will be participating in the academy at the two schools.

“We are thrilled that all of you are here today to embark on this exciting journey together,” WCC President Patty Pfeiffer told the program participants. “Your dedication and hard work will pave the way for a bright and successful future. We can’t wait to see all that you’ll accomplish by the end of the summer.”

“This is very special, and we’re grateful to the parents and the students for making this commitment,” said LCC Senior Vice President of Student Services and Workforce Development John Paul Black. “We are absolutely committed to your success and look forward to working with you.”

Along with college credit, the program offers career exploration in engineering, maintenance, machining, industrial systems, and mechatronics for the participants. They will receive a paid education, a monthly stipend for transportation and supplies, hands-on experience and classroom instruction, and weekly field trips to local businesses.

Smithfield Foods sponsored the SEED initiative to focus on growing the manufacturing and agriculture workforce through work-based learning and apprenticeships.

“I think this is just as big of an opportunity for us as it is for the students,” said Clarence Scott, talent development manager at Smithfield Foods.

Morgan Crawford, deputy director for the NCBCE, explained that the education nonprofit’s purpose is to bring education and business together.

“We provide that critical link, and that was what Governor Jim Hunt envisioned for North Carolina when he created this nonprofit 40 years ago,” Crawford shared. “We’re really excited to have this program and that our longtime business member, Smithfield Foods, has committed to fund this project.”

Two of the academy’s students from Charles B. Aycock High School are ready to learn more about the manufacturing industry. Tristin Tyler, a rising junior, said it feels rewarding to be in the program’s inaugural cohort. Rising sophomore Natalia Estrada agreed, saying she feels like she had a hand in making history and is looking forward to making money as she learns.

The seven-week program began on Monday.