Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is an employer-based program that helps workers learn specialized skills needed in today’s work environment, combining on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction. Students earn nationally recognized credentials, while employers develop a talented team and close the skills gap. While many people start apprenticeships immediately after graduating from high school, they may also work well for veterans leaving active-duty military service, those looking to change careers, or people whose jobs are being replaced by technology. Here at Wilkes Community College, our goal is to help connect and support employers and apprentices.

Today’s apprenticeships cover a wide range of industries and occupations. Large and small companies across North Carolina and around the world use apprenticeship to train their employees and build a skilled workforce. NC companies using the apprenticeship model include CVS, Siemens, GSK, Atrium Health, Machine Specialties Inc., Dream Walls, InfusionPoints, Interflex Group, Wilkes Communications, Shew Electric, and hundreds of others.

For more information about apprenticeship opportunities, contact:

Image of Beth Foster
Beth Foster, BS
Director of Work Based Learning
Phone: 336-838-6173
bafoster167@wilkescc.edu

Student FAQ

Apprenticeships are a great alternative pathway to a successful career. Benefits of apprenticeship include:

  • Hands-on learning and job-related classroom or technical training provided
  • Wages that increase as new skills are learned
  • Earn national credentials, certifications, or college degrees
  • Jump-start your career, supporting yourself and your family while learning
  • Local employers offering apprenticeships give you the opportunity for a career close to home

Not every student wants to immediately head off to a university to earn a 4-year degree. For students that prefer hands-on learning, want to go right to work, prefer to stay closer to family, or would like their education partly or fully paid for, apprenticeship can be the right choice. In some cases, employers pay for 100% of the training costs; in others, the community colleges work with employers to obtain grant funding that covers these costs.

We often have parents or guardians say apprenticeship sounds too good to be true. It’s not. Apprenticeship is a win-win for employers and students.

Most apprenticeships range from one to four years, with the apprentice earning a nationally recognized credential (or journeyperson’s certificate) after completing the program. The training programs are structured, with most programs including both hands-on and classroom education. Apprentices are paid for learning hours and work hours based on a scale that includes wage increases at specific achievement points.

The word internship is often mistakenly used in place of apprenticeship. They are not the same. Internships are typically short-term offerings that allow students to explore occupations. Employers offering internships often do not have structured training in place or positions to offer interns upon completion of their internship. Interns also do not receive nationally recognized credentials upon completing the internship.

Wilkes Community College currently has employers with apprenticeships that include:

  • Nursing
  • Industrial Maintenance
  • CNC Machining
  • Press Operator
  • Electrical
  • Construction
  • Cyber Security
  • Information Systems

We are adding new employers all the time, so please let us know what type of opportunities interest you. Please contact:

Image of Beth Foster
Beth Foster, BS
Director of Work Based Learning
Phone: 336-838-6173
bafoster167@wilkescc.edu

If you are a student or parent interested in learning more about apprenticeship opportunities in Wilkes, Ashe, or Alleghany, please contact:

Image of Beth Foster
Beth Foster, BS
Director of Work Based Learning
Phone: 336-838-6173
bafoster167@wilkescc.edu

Employer FAQ

ApprenticeshipNC has one goal in mind: To help employers build a skilled workforce through on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction. Your ApprenticeshipNC team of dedicated consultants coordinate with your team and your local community college to develop a custom registered apprenticeship program that meets your specific needs. Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduced turnover & heightened loyalty
  • Increased productivity & employee engagement
  • Apprenticeships work for businesses of all sizes
  • Training supported by your local community college
  • Reduced search and recruitment costs
  • Improved workforce diversity
  • Assistance with grants to cover education and other costs

ApprenticeshipNC helps workers learn specialized skills needed in today’s work environment. With an employer-driven model, we help combine on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction.

The NC General Assembly recently approved $12 million in funding to expand apprenticeship in the state (Session Law 2021-180 Section 6.14). The $12M is being used to provide funds for employers to add new apprentices ages 16-25 based on the following criteria:

  • Small businesses within Tier 1 & 2 counties in sectors with high-demand careers (no more than 500 employees in the location)
  • $2,000 per year for employers to onboard and train apprentices
  • $2,500 per year for apprentice’s tuition, books, and fees
  • Up to $15/hr. (non-high school) and up to $14/hr. (high school) salary match (50% reimbursement)
  • Apprentices must be hired effective July 1, 2022, or later (you may register your apprenticeship program prior to 7/1 and enroll apprentices after that date to take advantage of the funding)
  • Funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024, and spent by December 31, 2026
  • Funding will be coordinated through the NC Community College System
  • Pre-apprenticeships are not eligible for these incentives

The high demand careers include, but are not limited to, the following occupation codes (please contact your community college apprenticeship coordinator or ApprenticeshipNC consultant for specifics):

  • Architecture and Engineering (17-0000)
  • Education (25-0000)
  • Healthcare Technicians (29-0000)
  • Healthcare Support (31-0000)
  • Protective Service (33-0000)
  • Food Preparation and Service (35-0000)
  • Office and Administrative Support (43-0000)
  • Construction and Extraction (47-0000)
  • Installation, Maintenance, and Repairs (49-0000)
  • Production (51-0000)
  • Transportation (53-0000)

If you are ready to learn more about apprenticeship, reach out to:

Image of Beth Foster
Beth Foster, BS
Director of Work Based Learning
Phone: 336-838-6173
bafoster167@wilkescc.edu

She will coordinate a meeting with the apprenticeship consultant. Optionally, you may visit ApprenticeshipNC.com, find your apprenticeship consultant, and work with them to set up your program. Watch the video below for more information.