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ATEC students enter apprentice program

Posted: April 5, 2018 5:18 p.m.
Updated: April 6, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Two Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) students have begun work as registered youth apprentices with Thompson Turner, the construction management company building the new Camden Elementary School. The apprenticeships are the first for the Kershaw County School District in almost 20 years.

The students, who are enrolled in ATEC’s residential construction and carpentry program, are working part-time with Thompson Turner while pursuing training in one of many high-demand construction trade occupations.

Registered youth apprenticeships combine high school curriculum and career and technology training for the students while providing the employer with an opportunity to mold and shape potential future employees.

Jeff Henry, a senior at Lugoff-Elgin High School, and Zach Knopp, a junior at North Central High School, are also earning a pay check while working at the construction site during their ATEC class time and at other times when they are not in school.

“We are very excited Thompson Turner is partnering with ATEC to provide this opportunity for our students,” ATEC Director Gordon Morris said. “A registered youth apprenticeship is considered the Cadillac of work-based learning opportunities because of the many benefits attached to it not only for the students but also for the business providing it.”

The apprenticeships came about after Teri Luther, a consultant with Apprenticeship Carolina, brought Thompson Turner and ATEC together to discuss the possibility of a partnership. An agreement grew from there. Thompson Turner interviewed several ATEC candidates before deciding on Henry and Knopp.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the young people of Kershaw County,” Dr. Tim Hardee, president of the S.C. Technical College System, “An apprenticeship provides an opportunity to earn while you learn as well as a competitive edge with hands-on of real-world experience. Our system is built on providing accessible, affordable and relevant education and training for the citizens of our state.”

More than 200 employers in South Carolina are finding youth apprenticeships to be crucial in filling their workforce needs. Sonoco, Continental, Stingray Boats, Boeing, and Michelin are among those companies that have thriving youth apprenticeship programs.

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