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Apprenticeship Randolph helps train skilled workers

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- Jaeco Precision began as a two person operation in the late 90s. Now the Randolph County manufacturer has 18 workers. They ship molds and custom parts to aerospace, electronics and medical companies all over the world. One of Jaeco Precision founders, Jeff Callicutt, says there's only one thing that can slow the growth of high-skilled manufacturing companies in Randolph County.

"They want skilled help. It's hard to find," Callicutt said.

Nowadays, it takes a degree to design and build a product and run the machines. So in order to help companies find future workers, Randolph County Schools and other educational partners and businesses are sponsoring Apprenticeship Randolph. The program will take high school junior and seniors and pair them with 12 high-skill manufacturing companies.

"They will be able to come in and see all the equipment," Callicutt said. "See the guys and the skill they have. I think it will be great to see all that goes on. They never seen that before."

Alison Shelton is hoping to be a part of first Apprenticeship Randolph class. She will be a junior in the fall.

"Not a lot of girls like doing electronics or working on machines. I really like to create and make my own designs," Shelton said.

The students will work and earn a salary while they are in high school. After graduation, a grant will pay for college tuition and the company will pay for the books. That part really appeals to Brendyn Gilmore.

"Pays for college and we get paid so there's no student debt to worry about. No additional finances. That's something important about the program," Gilmore said.

And when the students graduate from college, businesses have an employee with the technical skills ready to work full-time.

"After the four years, we are looking full-time and groom them the way we want to groom them and grow with the company and be here a long time" Callicutt said.

An Apprenticeship Randolph information meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. The session will take place at Randolph Community College's Alton Cox Learning Resources Center Auditorium, at 629 Industrial Park Ave. in Asheboro.