Thanks to an innovative community college program and the collaboration of 21 local companies, high school students in Guilford County are enjoying the benefits of a structured pathway into advanced manufacturing jobs. The Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP) program recruits high school juniors and seniors to boost them into careers while earning a college degree at Guilford Technical Community College. Participants in the program receive a free college education and earn a paycheck through an apprenticeship at one of the partnering manufacturing companies.
Students in the GAP program choose one of six machining pathways and are sponsored by a partnering industry. In addition to taking classes a couple of days a week at the community college, participants work through an apprenticeship for four years to gain on the job training. The GAP program connects the community college, Guilford County Schools, and local industries to teach, train and lead students into meaningful local manufacturing careers. The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the Greensboro and High Point Chambers of Commerce are also partners in the program. Launched in 2016 to help manufacturers find quality, trained workers, the results have led to ready to work employees with the right skills and mindset for success.
Part of the success has been the new Center for Advanced Manufacturing and its state-of-the-art-equipment. In April 2017, Golden LEAF awarded $650,000 to GTCC through the Community-Based Grants Initiative to help expand the college’s machining programs. Randy Gunter, GTCC Dean of Industrial, Construction and Engineering Technologies, said the funding allowed the college to purchase new CNC equipment that along with the existing equipment and new machining equipment that the college invested in made the program viable.
Currently, GTCC has 113 students participating in manufacturing programs through the apprenticeship with 18 of those students earning National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) nationally recognized credentials and a total of 31 credentials earned to date.
Stay connected with Golden LEAF by signing up for our e-newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.