South Carolina's Youth Apprenticeship Program Attracts White House Attention
Joerg Klisch (Tognum America Director of Operations), Arjonetta Gaillard (Sr. HR ManagerTognum America), Dr. Susan Winsor (President, Aiken Technical College), Brooks Smith (Dir. Aiken County Career Center), Dr. Beth Everitt (Aiken County Superintendent), Brad Neese (Director, Apprenticeship Carolina), Robert Crenshaw (Apprenticeship Consultant, Apprenticeship Carolina)
COLUMBIA (May 31, 2012) – Apprenticeship Carolina, along with Aiken Technical College, Aiken County School District and Tognum America Inc., participated in a roundtable discussion at the White House last week to discuss youth apprenticeships. The roundtable discussions revolved around programs aimed at improving education and helping younger Americans gain vocational training and enter the workforce without a college degree.
The group shared the vision for helping high school students get a head start on a career in industrial manufacturing through the state's first youth apprenticeship program with a major manufacturing company.
Tognum America's vision for helping high school students get a head start on a career in industrial manufacturing provided the starting point for the collaboration.
"Our invitation to the White House was a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of the training gap that exists for many high school graduates in America," said Joerg Klisch, vice president of North American operations for Tognum America. "Our meeting also enabled us to encourage other companies to consider using our ideas, and to encourage the government to share our ideas with other states and organizations. We believe strongly that our new apprenticeship program will help the community and our business grow together, and we would love to see the program's model implemented in other states and industries."
The youth apprenticeship program, which will be produced in partnership with the Aiken County School District, the Aiken County Career and Technology Center, and Aiken Technical College, will combine high school education, classroom technical training, and hands-on learning at the MTU Aiken Plant. Six new high school juniors will be enrolled in the program each school year, beginning this fall.
"Aiken Technical College is honored to be a partner in this collaboration. With nearly 75% of future jobs requiring more than a high school diploma and less than a four-year degree, best practices such as the youth apprenticeship program can help develop a workforce with the necessary skills to meet the demands of local employers," said Dr. Susan Winsor, president of Aiken Technical College. "We are fully engaged with business and industry in our service area, and the roundtable discussion provided Aiken Technical College the opportunity to showcase our commitment to developing a highly skilled workforce that meets current and future employers' expectations."
"It was an honor for Aiken County Public Schools to be recognized for our successful partnership with Tognum, Apprenticeship Carolina and Aiken Technical College at the White House Roundtable. Because of the diligent efforts of staff from each of these organizations, our 10th and 11th grade students will be able to participate in the state's first high school apprenticeship with a major manufacturing company," said Dr. Elizabeth Everitt, superintendent of Aiken County Schools. "This innovative program provides multiple options for students to enrich their career choices, offering hands-on high-quality work experience along with related academic and technical skills."
An apprenticeship is a time-tested method of employee development that combines supervised on-the-job learning and job-related education. A program "registered" with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) shows an employer's visible commitment to developing a high-quality workforce that meets nationally recognized training standards.
"South Carolina boasts the fastest growth in registered apprenticeship programs across the nation. Apprenticeship Carolina has played a key role in this phenomenal growth," said Brad Neese, director of Apprenticeship Carolina. "We credit our outstanding partnerships and an innovative approach of growing apprenticeship through non-traditional occupations with our success. This roundtable gave us the opportunity to raise awareness of registered apprenticeship as a proven tool to address existing skills gap. It also allowed us to demonstrate the importance of innovation and partnership in the approach."