Governor tours training in welding program to mark Apprenticeship Week

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Gov. Roy Cooper celebrated Apprenticeship Week yesterday by touring the Caterpillar Pre-Apprenticeship Training in Welding Program at Central Carolina Community College after proclaiming Nov. 13 – 19 as Apprenticeship Week.

“It’s great to see so many talented young students learning the skills they need to succeed while they’re still in high school,” Cooper said. “This program is a wonderful example of our community colleges, local businesses and schools working together to strengthen our workforce for years to come.”

The governor visited the registered welding youth apprenticeship program, a partnership between Caterpillar, Lee County Schools, Central Carolina Community College, and ApprenticeshipNC.

High school students in Lee County can take college-level welding classes and Caterpillar-specific training. In the spring of their senior year, they work part-time at Caterpillar. Apprentices are paid for the time working at Caterpillar or engaged in Caterpillar-specific training and their tuition costs are covered.

Central Carolina Community College serves three counties, Chatham, Harnett and Lee. Central Carolina Community College offers a wide variety of programs including one and two-year degree programs, transfer programs, college and career readiness training, GED programs, and technical, vocational and general interest training.

“We serve a community with exceptional partners, and our Caterpillar Youth Apprenticeship exemplifies this and has for 10 years,” said Dr. Lisa Chapman, president of Central Carolina Community College. “Partnering with Lee County Schools, Caterpillar, and ApprenticeshipNC has resulted in an effective response to a workforce concern where we consistently develop our local talent.

“National Apprenticeship Week was established to showcase successes, and I cannot think of a better one to recognize than our Caterpillar Youth Apprenticeship.”Last year, over 13,000 North Carolinians participated in an apprenticeship program with over 1,600 employers statewide. Of the participants, almost 1,000 were considered youth apprentices who participated in programs in several different industries including, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, construction, health care, IT and logistics.

Caterpillar Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, off-highway diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. Caterpillar is a member of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). Caterpillar’s Clayton plant participates in NCBCE’s LiNC-IT program, an internship for early career autistic professionals.

“It is an honor to be here today with you, Governor, to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and highlight our longtime partnership with Caterpillar, Central Carolina Community College, and ApprenticeshipNC,” said Dr. Andy Bryan, superintendent of Lee County Schools. “What better way to celebrate apprenticeships than to highlight this Caterpillar Apprenticeship program — a nationally-acclaimed example of what local and statewide partnerships can do to provide life-changing opportunities for our students and to develop the workforce that our communities need to thrive.”

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