South Piedmont Community College to Host Apprenticeship Summit; Free and Open to Businesses of All Kinds


South Piedmont Community College will host an Apprenticeship Summit designed to assist businesses of all kinds in creating apprenticeship programs on Nov. 14 at the Monroe Country Club.

“South Piedmont is currently sponsoring apprenticeship programs with employers in a wide range of industries, including education, healthcare, and manufacturing. There is an outdated perception of apprenticeships being limited to the skilled trades. While apprenticeships certainly work well in construction, manufacturing, and similar fields, there’s also great opportunity for apprenticeships in virtually any professional field you can imagine,” said Russell Carpenter, director of work-based learning and apprenticeships.

“This event is designed to help attendees understand how apprenticeships can work for their businesses.”

Apprenticeships combine on-the-job and classroom instruction. Apprentices work for their employers while also completing coursework at South Piedmont Community College. Apprentices thereby receive the skills and education they need to grow into leaders of their organizations.

A perfect example of South Piedmont’s success with apprenticeships is Goulston Technologies employee Justin Swinney. Swinney began working at Goulston five years ago as a maintenance technician. While advancing his training and education through the South Piedmont-Goulston mechatronics maintenance technician apprenticeship program, he was promoted to maintenance supervisor. Earlier this year, he became the first Goulston employee to complete the apprenticeship program.

“When he first came to us, Justin showed lots of promise. The apprenticeship program was perfect for expanding his skills and ensuring he could take on a broader role in our company. Young people like Justin literally are the future of leadership, and investing in him is the right decision. We appreciate South Piedmont Community College’s partnership in creating customized training for our employees,” said Fred Edwards, president and COO of Goulston Technologies.

At the Apprenticeship Summit, attendees will hear from speakers including:

  • Maureen Little, formerly associate vice president of NCWorks Customized Training for the North Carolina Community College System, now executive director of the South Piedmont Community College Foundation
  • Dale Yarborough, ApprenticeshipNC field supervisor for the North Carolina Community College System
  • Chris Wallace, Greiner Bio-One North America apprenticeship supervisor
  • Additional apprenticeship employers and apprentices

Attendees will learn about the benefits of apprenticeships, the process involved in creating an apprenticeship, and how South Piedmont can be their partner in their apprenticeship journey.

The South Piedmont Apprenticeship Summit is free to attend but registration is required.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Monroe Country Club, 1680 Pageland Highway, Monroe, N.C.

Register at apprenticeshipsummit.info.spcc.edu. Space is limited.

For more information, visit the website listed above or contact Carpenter at rcarpenter@spcc.edu.

The Apprenticeship Summit is being organized by South Piedmont’s Business Solutions division, which offers customized training, apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities, and includes the South Piedmont Community College Small Business Center.

South Piedmont Apprentices Create Customized Wheelchair Attachment for Matthews Child

Sarah Thompson with the South Piedmont apprentices who built the custom tablet stand that attaches to her wheelchair. The apprentices are all employed by Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company.

There were plenty of misty eyes recently, when 8-year-old Sarah Thompson pressed the button on her communication tablet to say “thank you” to a group of South Piedmont Community College apprentices.

Thompson, a resident of Matthews, has a condition that prevents her from communicating verbally. She also uses a wheelchair.

Earlier this year, Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center put out a call, looking for someone to create a wheelchair attachment to hold Thompson’s tablet. Union County Chamber of Commerce President and South Piedmont Board of Trustees member, Pat Kahle, connected Thompson’s family to William Spencer, a long-time South Piedmont faculty member.

Spencer was glad to help and thought the project would be perfect for a group of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company machining apprentices he was training. The apprentices readily accepted the assignment and spent the last several weeks designing and manufacturing Thompson’s new tablet stand.

The apprentices even customized the stand, painting it bright red — Thompson’s favorite color — and attaching a small fan to keep her comfortable on warm days. They also ensured the stand would be easy to for Thompson’s parents to attach, detach, and collapse when needed.

Earlier this month, the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry apprentices — Cameron Blackburn, Chaz Hill, Henry Moore, Coleton Myers, and Jarrod Sikes — presented the stand to Thompson at South Piedmont’s Tyson Family Center for Technology.

The apprentices agreed the project brought them a special sense of satisfaction.

“I loved it. I have a little girl of my own. I love kids. I was all for doing something that would help Sarah,” Hill said.

The tablet will give Thompson more independence. Previously someone had to hold the tablet for Thompson, which limited her ability to express herself.

Kahle and South Piedmont President Dr. Maria Pharr attended the presentation to Thompson.

“This is a perfect example of how we all work together as a community. The Chamber saw a need, reached out to us, and we all worked together to solve a problem,” Pharr said.

“This is also a big example of how South Piedmont changes lives, in this case both Sarah’s and the lives of the apprentices, who will remember the impact they were able to make for Sarah and her family. We’re very proud of all involved.”

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