Mt. Olive Pickle joins apprenticeship program

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The Mt. Olive Pickle Company signed on as a founding partner of the Industrial Maintenance apprenticeship consortium at Wayne Community College last week.

Joining Mt. Olive Pickle were Goldsboro businesses Franklin Bakery and SPX Transformer Solutions; and Bridgestone America’s Wilson Tire Plant.

Industry leaders in their respective fields, the companies recognize the vital role apprenticeships provide in creating a qualified and highly-skilled workforce in diverse professions locally, statewide and nationally.

“The apprenticeship program will help both the company and graduating students [and] Mount Olive needs to continue to build its technical skill set so it can remain competitive in the future,” said Larry Beckman, vice president for manufacturing at Mt. Olive Pickle.

The program will launch in spring 2021.

An employer-driven training model, apprenticeships combine paid work-based learning with related classroom instruction.

Students are required to achieve 8,000 hours of classroom and on-the-job training in their respective trade. They must attend class one day a week to receive instruction toward an AAS degree and journeyman certificate from Wayne CC.

“The apprenticeship program will provide Mount Olive with a pipeline of skilled talent for its future success [and] will allow the students to grow a career working [in] the local community,” Beckman said.

“At the end of the program, the employees will have a rewarding and good-paying job allowing them to remain in the community and contribute locally.”

WCC currently has two Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship cohorts with Smithfield Foods.

That cohort has created a Farm Leadership Program, which will also begin spring 2021. It will create apprenticeships in Swine Management for individuals working at hog farms who wish to progress to hog operation management.

WCC and James Sprunt CC will provide the educational component online.

A pre-apprentice program is scheduled for the fall 2021 semester. Juniors and seniors at Wayne County high schools may participate in an industrial maintenance program that could lead to employment or further education, including transfer to a four-year university.

Butterball is expected to join WCC’s apprenticeship program in the fall of 2021.

“Wayne Community College recognizes, promotes and contributes to robust apprenticeship programs that provide tangible value to both job creators and apprentices with the potential to increase productivity, improve diversity and inclusion and reduce recruitment and training costs while providing a pathway to prosperous careers for job seekers,” stated Thomas A. Walker Jr., president of WCC in a signed proclamation.

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