GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Free college and a paycheck.
Those are two of the incentives that Guilford County high school juniors and seniors can look forward to through a local apprenticeship program.
Guilford Apprenticeship Partners or GAP, offers students the opportunity to learn a skilled trade, earn a degree without the burden of tuition, and get paid while working with a company.
“You’re getting a two-year associate degree from GTCC, you’re getting a journeyman certificate, which is portable to all 50 states, so you’re getting a great foundation that’s recongized nationwide,” GAP Chairman Todd Poteat said.
Poteat says the program has grown with more than 22 companies currently participating and the ability to assist 60 apprentices this year.
Jesse Puente and Garrison Weavil are apprentices at Machine Specialties, Inc. in Whitsett.
They have valued how the company has allowed them to have access to different departments, learning different tasks – even when it came to operating equipment.
“I kind of expected that they would put me off in a corner, you do the simple thing, but no, they're like ‘Hey, you want to run this machine?’ [I] didn't expect that,” Puente said.
“Some of the stuff that we make is really amazing and that's what I love about the program,” Weavil said.
“This is an opportunity to get some young folks in here, who love working with their hands, they like manufacturing, we want to supply them with an education,” said Lenny Meyers, who helps guide the apprentices at Machine Specialties, Inc..
Applications are currently open for the upcoming apprenticeship year.
However, interested high school juniors and seniors must attend one of three remaining open houses to apply for the apprenticeship program.
Ziehl-Abegg Wednesday Jan. 31 at 2:15 p.m.
719 Regional Road, Greensboro NC
AC Corporation Saturday Feb. 3 at 10:00 a.m.
301 Creek Ridge Road, Greensboro NC
MSI – Machine Specialties, Inc. Monday Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.
6511 Franz Warner Parkway, Whitsett NC
Visit http://gapnc.org/ for details on apprenticeship opportunities and requirements.