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ATEC Students Enter Registered Apprenticeship Program

March 20, 2018

The ATEC Advantage
Spring 2018
Volume 20 No. 2

Two ATEC students have begun work as registered youth apprentices with Thompson Turner, the construction management company building the new Camden Elementary School. The apprenticeships are the first for the Kershaw County School District in almost 20 years.

The students, who are enrolled in Eric Branham's residential construction and carpentry program, are working part-time with Thompson Turner while pursing training in one of many high-demand construction trade occupations. 

Jeff Henry, a senior at Lugoff-Elgin High School, and Zach Knopp, a junior at North Central High School, are also earning a pay check while working at the construction site during their ATEC class time and at other times when they are not in school.

"We are very excited Thompson Turner is partnering with ATEC to provide this opportunity for our students," says ATEC Director Gordon Morris.

"A registered youth apprenticeship is considered the Cadillac of work-based learning opportunities because of the many benefits attached to it not only for the students but also for the business providing it."

The registered youth apprenticeship program combines high school curriculm and career and technology training for students while providing the employer with an opportunity to mold and shape potential future employees. 

High school completion is a requirement of the program, but students can remain in the apprenticeship program with the employer while they pursue post-secondary education and earn hours towards a possible Master Craftsmen or Journeyman status. 

Registered youth apprenticeships are growing in South Carolina as businesses seek a way to create a crucial pipeline of employment with workers trained in the skills necessary for the jobs available. Businesses which provide apprenticeships qualify for a $1,000 state tax credit for each apprentice. 

Teri Luther, a consultant with Apprenticeship Carolina, brought Thompson Turner and ATEC together to discuss the possibility of a registered apprenticeship. The agreement grew from there. Thompson Turner interviewed several ATEC candidates before deciding on Henry and Knopp, who report to the construction site four days a week. They attend their ATEC class one day each week.

"We have been very pleased with the guys," says Bradley Holeman, project manager for Thompson Turner. "They have shown an eagerness to learn and are doing an excellent job." Among the skills the students will learn are masonry, electrical and roofing. 

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"Together we have done great things in Kershaw County including announcing jobs and critical investment this past year at Suominen, Haier and INVISTA. Kershaw County is on the move and we are confident this growth will continue as we continue to invest in quality jobs and training for South Carolina’s workforce."
-- Nikki Haley - UN Ambassador and Former SC Governor