Seven local companies joined with the Alamance Burlington School System, Alamance Community College and the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce to establish the Career Accelerator Program – Building for Tomorrow. The Career Accelerator Program (CAP), a formal, four-year apprenticeship program in Alamance County, officially started on September 1, 2015 at a signing event hosted at the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce. The companies in the consortium include Engineered Controls, International, Fairystone Fabrics, GKN Driveline, Glen Raven, Nypro, Sandvik, and Technical Precision Plastics. AKG, Indulor and Shawmut have since joined CAP. See profiles and contact information for the companies here.
These ten companies join together as they see a need to train a new generation of workers for highly skilled manufacturing jobs. “Apprenticeship programs are vital to the current and future health of manufacturing companies across the US. As a consortium of local businesses, we are striving to provide hands-on learning opportunities within our manufacturing facilities and a college education to high school students which will ensure successful futures for many students,” shares Barbara Gorman, Learning and Development Manager at GKN Driveline. Gorman has been instrumental in organizing the Career Accelerator Program consortium.
Key to the success of the CAP is the Alamance Burlington School System. The school system is working with CAP to connect with career development coordinators, career and technology education teachers, counselors and ultimately to students which may be a good fit for the program. The program is open to high school students beginning in their junior year with a minimum grade point average of 2.8 and good attendance records. Previous or current enrollment in classes such as physics, drafting, engineering and computers are a plus.
Another key component of the CAP is the commitment of Alamance Community College and their willingness to step up and create a new Associate in Applied Science Degree in Mechatronics Engineering Technology, and arrange the classes in a manner to accommodate students in the apprenticeship program. Students outside the apprenticeship program may also attend the classes towards a degree in Mechatronics. “A major component of the community college mission is to prepare a skilled workforce. ACC is pleased to partner with the Alamance-Burlington School System and local industry to launch this major workforce development initiative,“ says Scott Queen, Executive Vice President, Alamance Community College.
The Alamance Chamber serves as partner with the Career Accelerator Program as part of our economic development services for local companies. A strong, well trained workforce is key to a company’s success in the area, and the apprenticeship program is an important component of exposing high school students to careers in advanced manufacturing.
Student & Parent Commitment
Of critical importance to the program will be the communication and commitment of the parents and students. Parents or guardians are a required component of the program as it takes their understanding of the process and expectations of an apprentice, often along with an updated understanding of modern manufacturing. Parents will also need to assist and guide their student in time management.
Advantages of the Program
“We are pleased to be working with the apprenticeship program. Assisting in the organizing and logistics of this many people working together is another way we can assist local industries in their workforce needs, but also provide additional opportunities for local students,” says Mac Williams, President, Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce.
The four-year Career Accelerator Program combines academic and on the job training. A student will be working at the company, but also finishing classes at their high school, and attending classes at Alamance Community College. During the four years, a student will earn while they learn. They will be paid for time working at the company, but also for the time they attend classes at Alamance Community College. The company will also pay the student tuition at ACC. During the program a student will receive 6,400 hours of on the job training and 1,600 hours of classroom education.
At the end of their four years, the student will have an Associate’s degree in Applied Science from Alamance Community College, a Journeyman certificate from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and a guaranteed job upon graduation. Mechatronics is an emerging field blending principles of electrical, mechanical, computer and industrial engineering.