Wilkes Community College today announced a $194,029 grant from Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas. The funds will be used to connect students with hands-on training and career development opportunities.

The grant will allow the college to expand educational opportunities through the purchase of needed equipment associated with training individuals in the CNC machine operation and industrial maintenance fields. It will also cover the cost of tuition, books, and materials that a student enrolled in an industry-approved apprenticeship would incur.

“Wilkes Community College is excited to have the opportunity to build and grow the apprenticeship programs of Apprenticeship Wilkes through this grant,” said Beth Foster, director of Work-Based Learning. “We continue to strengthen and develop partnerships with local manufacturing businesses to offer entry-level apprenticeships in CNC machine operation and industrial maintenance, and we are currently working with Gardner Glass and Interflex Group, with plans to add additional businesses soon.”

Apprentices in the program will earn certificates in the WCC Appli