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Apprenticeships Help Students Build Careers

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NCC Welding and Computer-Integrated Machining graduate Macey O’Hara

Ralph Emerson knows the importance of developing a strong work force. The manufacturing program director for the Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant (RMEP) has been with the organization for over 30 years. In the span of his career with RMEP, Emerson has seen the apprenticeship program grow into something that is amazing.

“Nash Community College is a great education partner,” says Emerson. “Kenya Thompson, who is the director of corporate training at Nash Community College, plays an integral part in keeping our apprenticeship program running smoothly. Working with NCC and ApprenticeshipNC has made a positive impact on our workforce at RMEP and in the community.”

Registered apprenticeship programs are not new. Traditionally apprenticeships are training programs where apprentices learn skills in a trade or a specific profession. For registered apprenticeships in North Carolina, apprentices are paid and earn state and national credentials.

Rocky Mount Engine Plant prides itself on being a part of the driving force that is committed to developing the next generation of skilled recruits. The Whitakers, N.C. location, that is responsible for manufacturing natural gas and diesel engines has over 1,000 employees. The company has also produced over four million engines.

“As the manufacturing program director, I’m not just focused on getting students jobs. I’m focused on building a pipeline for students to build their own careers,” adds Emerson.
There are several benefits to having a business model that contains an established apprenticeship program. The workforce is not the same as it was 10 or 15 years ago. Apprenticeship continues to help and support businesses of all sizes to navigate this new normal.

For more information, click here or call NCC’s apprenticeship office at 252-451-8379.