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20

SC’s Competitive

EDGE:

Advanced Manufacturing

some input on curriculum that we weren’t really

sure about because it was a new program. They

pulled all of that together, and handled the logistics

around getting the program registered. We didn’t

have to go through the long, lengthy process that

we did when we started out back in 1988. Having

Apprenticeship Carolina help us through the process

was very beneficial. Now Apprenticeship Carolina

visits us on at least a quarterly basis and asks if

there is anything more they can do to help us, or

if there’s anything new we need. They’re flexible.

They’re responsive, and they’re committed to what

they do.

EDGE:

What are some of the financial incentives

that have helped your apprenticeship program over

the years?

PH:

We’ve received a tax credit ($1000 per

apprentice), and now we’re tapping into the

additional funding that’s available through the SC

Apprenticeship Initiative Grant. In addition, SC

lottery tuition assistance helps to offset some of

the costs. Of course, it’s always nice when we get

things paid for, but we don’t look at it from the

standpoint of what we could get back financially,

at least not in the short term.

When I talk to other companies about

apprenticeship, the first thing I tell them is,

“This is an investment in your future.” I spend

approximately $100,000 per semester with wages,

benefits, tuition and other costs. However, we see

this as a long-term investment in our company’s

future success. We’ve found that we have a loyal

workforce that stays with us. Our workforce knows

they can either move up through the supervision

and management roles, or they can become that

really high-skilled technical leader. They then can

pass that information back down to other operators

and other people. That’s the real payoff for us.

EDGE:

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

PH:

That’s right.

EDGE:

You’ve mentioned working with your local

technical college. Could you tell us a bit more about

how NETC helps with the apprenticeship program?

PH:

NETC provides all the instructors for our

programs. We’ve also worked with them to revamp

their machine technology program so that it is

geared toward our apprenticeship program.