A recent job fair is a sign that Egger is gearing up to open their Davidson County manufacturing plant. The wood-based material producer is also building its own workforce with the help of Davidson County Community College.
On this day, students filled the lab on campus and began working on machines similar to the ones they will have to operate and repair at their jobs. The group is made up of members of the Davidson and Davie Apprenticeship Consortium. Chandler Cannoy is an apprentice at Ingersoll Rand in Davie County. He summarized his experience in the program.
“We take what we learn in class and apply it every week,” Cannoy said. “One of our leads at work will pull us aside and go through with us stuff we are learning in class.”
Not only are they learning, they are also earning a salary. At the end of four years, an apprentice will have no college debt, career certifications, an associate degree and perhaps even a job. Michael Holmes is the Corporate Trainer for Egger. Holmes explained why Egger has been a part of the Davidson and Davie Apprenticeship Consortium since 2018.
“It gives us a chance from an employee standpoint to help mold and shape the next generation of leaders and maintenance crews,” Holmes said.
A lot of molding is involved. Students spend 1,600 hours on campus and 6,400 hours on the job training. Lance Hunter is an apprentice at Egger. He said an apprentice should have a solid science and math foundation. From there, instructors and build critical technical skills.
“Someone like me just coming in with not having any really technical skills when I first started, our trainers really worked with me and got me those technical skills,” Hunter said.
While most of the students work at Egger, this class is a mix of students working at different Piedmont manufacturers. Christy Forrest is the associate vice president for academic programs at DCCC. She said multiple businesses coming together to partner with the college to produce qualified workers helps the entire community.
“It’s a win, win,” Forrest said. “It puts our community in a great position because we have more students getting into these programs and it changes their lives, their family lives, and changes the community.”
Six manufacturers are a part of the Davidson and Davie Apprenticeship Consortium. Some companies like Egger are looking to fill the next apprenticeship class.