SANFORD - Fourteen individuals were recognized on May 10 as members of this year's graduating class from the Caterpillar Youth Apprentice Program. In addition, the newest program inductees were recognized.
The Caterpillar Youth Apprenticeship Program is a partnership that includes Central Carolina Community College, Lee County Schools, Caterpillar's Sanford plant, and the N.C. Department of Commerce.
Will Collins, of the N.C. Department of Commerce, presented the keynote remarks. "These young people have made decisions that are going to improve their lives for the rest of their lives," he said. "The apprenticeship program is a win-win situation. It's a win for the students and for the graduates and for the young people that are in, but it's also a very smart business decision for the company."
Student speaker was Anthony Woodlief, former Caterpillar student. "This is a very special opportunity," Woodlief told the students. "You just don't know how lucky you are. It's a true opportunity."
The Caterpillar Youth Apprentice Program in welding was developed by, and is a partnership among, Caterpillar, CCCC, Lee County Schools, and the N.C. Department of Commerce. The goal of the program is to train high school students through their junior and senior years for critical, high-demand, well-paying careers in welding, as well as to help provide the skilled workforce Caterpillar and other modern industries need.
The students continue their high school studies during their junior and senior years while taking welding and manufacturing-related classes. They train at CCCC's Lee Main Campus or its Dr. Paul Howard and Dr. Barbara James Innovation Center three days a week and work/train at Caterpillar two days per week.
Successful and qualifying students will receive:
* 12-hour Welding Certificate from Central Carolina Community College.
* High School Recognition Certificate from the N.C. Department of Commerce.
* Career Readiness Certificate.
* Work hours accrued will be applied toward their adult apprenticeship.
* A preferred employment opportunity at Caterpillar, Inc.
Martin Kegel, Caterpillar Fabrications Operations Manager, welcomed those in attendance. He also inducted the Class of 2019 and presented the graduating Class of 2017.
"The feedback we have gotten has been overwhelmingly positive about the program and for that we're very, very proud," he said. "We're proud to have the kids here in the program. We're proud to be a good corporate citizen and giving back to the community as well. This provides us a very needed pipeline for workers that come to the plant to work."
Annette Atkins, Caterpillar Training Consultant, presented an overview of the CAT Welding and Manufacturing Engineer Apprenticeships.
CCCC President Dr. T. Eston Marchant said the program is the envy of other community colleges. "You're doing something that is really unique," he said. "This is a great, great partnership ... all working together to ensure that you have a good livelihood and that Caterpillar has the trained workforce that it needs to continue to grow and expand here in North Carolina. And we're proud to be part of that."
Mark Akinosho, Chairman of the Lee County Board of Education, noted that amazing things truly happen when people come together to work for a greater good. "The apprenticeship program is a perfect example of the approach," he said. "We are very proud of our graduates and wish them the best as they move forward in their career and life."
Members of the Welding graduating class are Rey Antonio, Bradley Cameron, Jamie Dillon, Jeremy Hedrick, Jordan Jacobs, Harris Lanier, Margret Lawler, Shelby Leggitt, Abril Salinas, Christopher Taylor, Erick Terrones, Daniel Villagomez, and William Wilder.
The newest Welding program inductees are Asa Ammons, Travis Bottom, William Flynn, Chrissean Griffin, Caleb Lovick, Ryan Marks, Troyari Marks, Jeremy Paz, David Reyes, Jarom Reyes, Landon Richard, Kenneth Richardson, Dylan Smith, Eli Snyder, and Maxwell Weunski.
Korey Collins is a CAT-Manufacturing Engineering graduate.
For more information on the Caterpillar Youth Apprenticeship Program, contact Dr. Stephen Athans, CCCC Dean of Vocational & Technical Programs, at 919-718-7287 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The newest graduates of the Caterpillar Youth Apprentice Program.
The newest inductees of the Caterpillar Youth Apprentice Program.
Anthony Woodlief, former Caterpillar student, was a speaker at the Caterpillar Youth Apprentice Program graduation and induction.
Will Collins, of the N.C. Department of Commerce, presented the keynote remarks at the Caterpillar Youth Apprentice Program graduation and induction.