Boyd Greene, working at Leviton.

Wilkes Community College Ashe Campus student Boyd Greene jump-started his career through WCC’s Work-Based Learning program. Greene graduated with an Applied Engineering Technology, Machining and Maintenance degree in May 2018. He completed a work-based learning work experience with Leviton Manufacturing in the summer and fall semesters of 2017 under the supervision of Sam Hartsoe.

“I have very much enjoyed the Work-Based Learning program, especially in coordination with Leviton Manufacturing. I would highly recommend it to future students considering this line of work. Sam Hartsoe from Leviton challenged me with a variety of projects that helped increase my programming and machining skills,” stated Greene. Sam Hartsoe served as the Work-Based Learning, Work Experience supervisor.  Hartsoe said, “Boyd has an excellent attitude. He interacts well with the shop personnel and is very enthusiastic towards his work. He has the potential to become an excellent machinist.” Boyd was hired as a full-time employee at Leviton after completing his degree.

Leviton has collaborated with the Work-Based Learning program to allow Wilkes Community College engineering students the opportunity to be exposed to “real world” work situations. “Boyd completed WCC’s Applied Engineering Associate program, which provided him with the skills Leviton requires to stay competitive,” stated Chris Bare, chair of Workforce Development. The work experience at Leviton gives machining and maintenance students a focused experience within the business. Students learn what is expected in a manufacturing setting. In short, it is hands-on work in the real world.”

Joseph Phillips is an instructor for the Applied Engineering, Machining and Maintenance program in Ashe County. He stated, “Boyd is a hard worker who is willing and eager to learn. He demonstrates dependability, punctuality, and shows initiative.”

Beth Foster is director of the college’s Work-Based Learning Program. The program is a partnership among employers, students, and the college; each benefitting from the experience. The student receives hands-on experience, increased marketability in the job market after graduation, contacts in a chosen field, and is able to clarify career goals. The business/employer has input in the student’s training, benefits from additional staff to allow other employees to focus on urgent needs of their positions, provides a path to potential employment for WBL students, and creates a closer connection with the education of the future workforce. The college benefits as the program enriches the learning experience of students by providing field experience, creates a closer connection to businesses, assists with career placement for graduates, and provides an avenue for students to use skills gained in the classroom in the “real world”. “We are always seeking new businesses to partner with us in this ideal program,” Foster said.

Wilkes Community College facilitates Work-Based Learning partnerships for students in many programs including Advertising and Graphic Design, Animal Science, Automotive Systems, Baking and Pastry Arts, Building Construction, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Diesel and Heavy Equipment, Engineering Technology, Horticulture, Human Services, and Information Technology. The partnership with Leviton Manufacturing is an example of how this program can establish references and lead to employment for graduates. Work-Based Learning works because everyone wins. If you would like more information about the Work-Based Learning program, please contact Beth Foster at 336-838-6173 or

Leviton has evolved to become a leading, global provider of electrical wiring devices, data connectivity solutions, networking systems, automation solutions and lighting and energy management systems for a variety of end-use markets. Since the 1960’s Leviton has been a leading employer in Ashe County with its success directly related to its willingness to innovate and automate processes. Innovation requires education in areas such as electronics, machining, print reading, automation robotics, quality assurance and lean concepts. Ashe County, located in the Appalachian Mountains of northwestern North Carolina, has a population of approximately 27,000 residents. Leviton operates with a “We Make It Happen” philosophy and the following Mission Statement: “To be considered the vendor of choice by our customers, we pledge to provide products and services that not only meet but exceed their needs.”