Group of  Student Apprentices at Signing program along with Superintendent and other community leaders

Alamance Community College (ACC) hosted a combined graduation/signing ceremony on August 3  at the Vailtree Event Center for multiple ABSS high school students and some adult students enrolled in a variety of apprenticeship programs.

High school apprentices were joined at the event by other youth and adult apprentices in manufacturing and skilled trades, including horticulture.

Alamance County’s apprenticeship program was initially designed for high school juniors and seniors who can earn a paycheck on the job as soon as they begin the apprenticeship program while also taking college classes. However, the College’s apprenticeship portfolio has expanded over the past few years and now includes incoming high school students, current college students, and non-traditional adult students.

“You have the power as skilled workers to go out and make a difference for yourself and your apprenticed companies,” said ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood. “More than 10,000 skilled workers each day in the U.S. are retiring and those positions must be filled. How do we help fill those jobs? We are getting a head start on doing just that with the Alamance apprenticeship program.”

The Alamance County apprenticeship program is a joint partnership between Alamance Community College, Alamance-Burlington Schools, and more than two dozen businesses including all apprenticeships at ACC. It is sanctioned by ApprenticeshipNC.

“Graduating apprentices receive work certification through the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Dr. Bruce Mack, VP of Economic Development with the NC Community College System.

At the August 3 celebration, seven student apprentices graduated from the program after working at companies as follows:

  • Marshall Dodson, GKN Driveline
  • Jason Hughes, Nature Select
  • Matthew Madren, RegO Products/ECI
  • Victoria Rose, RegO Products/ECI
  • Cristian Salas, Fairystone Fabrics
  • Felix Valdez, AKG
  • Jailyne Warren, GKN Driveline

Above, Matthew Madren, Cristian Salas, and Jailyne Warren were among the seven apprentices who graduated and earned U.S. Labor Dept. credentials.

The seven graduates, who are all former ABSS students, earned their associate degrees from ACC last month and had worked full-time as apprentices since 2017. From that class, Jason Hughes earned a certificate and started the program in 2020.

For all apprentices, tuition, books, and fees for the associate degree program are covered by most companies, allowing the students to graduate debt-free. The graduates also earn specialized certification and experienced that is recognized and sought by local employers. Most apprentices complete about 8,000 hours, comprised of 6400 hours working as apprentices and 1600 hours learning in ACC classes. Other apprentices complete a minimum of 4,000 hours of on-the-job training and 288 hours or related instruction.

Above, Edwin Martinez Ramirez (seated) was one of six high school students who signed agreements with ApprenticeshipNC.

Six ABSS high school students who are incoming freshmen at ACC also formally signed agreements with ApprenticeshipNC to begin their apprenticeships:

  • Destiny Bellamy of Orange County High School – Elevate Textiles
  • Devin Harrison of Williams High School – Fairystone Fabrics
  • Edwin Martinez Ramirez of Cummings High School – Sandvik Coromant
  • Caleb Maxfield of Eastern Alamance High School – Elevate Textiles
  • Rosa Melgar of Cummings High School – AKG
  • Jacob Ward of Southern Alamance High School – GKN Driveline

Special Recognition was given to Jacob Boydstun, a rising senior at Southern Alamance High School, who recently began his Pre-apprenticeship and is guaranteed an apprenticeship at GKN Driveline next year.

ABSS Superintendent Dr. Dain Butler praised both the graduates and those who signed saying, "My father was a welder so I know what this kind of work is all about.  I'm proud of what you're doing and our community is proud and honored to have you remain here and continue to give back to Alamance County."