First 5 Students Welcomed into Erdrich/AWEBA Apprenticeship Program
By: Jason Halcombe
Dublin, Ga. – A quintet of high school students are the first five to begin work in an innovative apprenticeship program at Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) designed to put them on the fast track towards a career with one of two partner industries.
Damien Barnard, Ashley Fulghum, Asheton Perry, Benton Hogan and Colby Butler were the first students accepted into the Erdrich USA/AWEBA Machine Tool Apprenticeship Partnership coordinated by the Heart of Georgia College and Career Academy and OFTC, and have already begun course study in the OFTC Machine Tool lab.
The Apprenticeship Partnership will give students an opportunity to take coursework for a portion of the week, followed by job-based application at automotive machine tool producer Erdrich USA and tool and die manufacturer AWEBA.
These students will have the opportunity to study four days per week at OFTC followed by one day of paid internship at the facility. During their senior year, the study period shifts to three days with two days of paid internship, with the long-term goal of transitioning students into full-time employees at either facility.
“This model has proven itself in Europe to be productive and effective,” said Jennifer Crutchfield, Human Resources/Labor Relations for Erdrich USA. “Our hope is to locate those highly motivated candidates in high school, and utilize the Move On When Ready (MOWR) Program to have them that much closer to work-ready when they graduate high school.”
An informational meeting was held at the Dublin High School auditorium in late April to offer rising juniors insight into the program put together by OFTC, Erdrich and AWEBA.
“This is exciting,” said Eric Cannada, HGCCA co-CEO. “To see all of our discussions transform into students in the classroom working toward potential careers is what we’re all about, and my hope is this is just the beginning for this program.”
“Yes,” added Laurens County CTAE Director, Tim Passmore, “We are hopeful this program will encourage other industries to partner with us and OFTC to help them cultivate employment opportunities for our students as well as satisfy their staffing requirements.”
According to HGCCA founding member, Dublin City Schools, college and career readiness are one of the fundamental philosophies behind the education of children in the area.
“At Dublin City Schools, we are mandated by our Strategy Map to ensure all students are college and career ready and globally competitive,” said Superintendent Dr. Fred Williams.
“This apprenticeship meets all that criteria and more, putting students in prime position to exit high school, complete their course study and begin their careers with one of our industrial neighbors. It’s a win-win for the students and for local industry.”
Requirements to be admitted into the Program:
· Student must be 16 years of age (11th grade students and above)
· Student must meet minimum standard to be allowed into a Degree Level program at OFTC (must score high enough on the Accuplacer test)
· Students must complete an application
· Suggested but not required – students take Foundations of Engineering and Technology at the local High School in the 9th or 10th grade.
· Students and parents must complete an agreement with OFTC and placement site.
· Students must take and pass a drug test and may be randomly tested throughout the program.
· Maximum of 10 students per year will be allowed into the program
· For more information about the program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
// Jason Halcombe is the Director of Public Relations for Dublin City Schools in Dublin, Ga.