SPCC gets $190,000 grant

By: By Natalie Davis - Staff Writer

POLKTON — South Piedmont Community College has received $190,000 grant from Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas to connect students with apprenticeship opportunities.

The funds will be used to connect students with hands-on training and career development opportunities.

According to a press release, the grant will be used for the Manufacturing Pathways Apprenticeship program to provide funding for student tuition, Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) certification and program consumable materials.

The program partners with local industry to align current manufacturing continuing education and degree programs with industry specific on-the-job training, assuring a well-trained workforce.

The Industrial Manufacturing Technician Foundational Apprenticeship pathway leads into the more specialized fields of industrial maintenance mechanic, welding or machinist training programs and employer-paid on-the-job technical training for the apprentice. Through comprehensive knowledge of basic workplace and soft skills, completers gain employability and job success.

“This grant will allow South Piedmont to aid local partnering industries in recruiting and training individuals for high-tech manufacturing careers,” said Russell Carpenter, director of apprenticeships.

“We are so appreciative of the generous funding from Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas to support South Piedmont’s apprenticeship programs,” said Maria Pharr, president of SPCC. “Through the Manufacturing Pathways Apprenticeship program, students gain relevant and valuable skills to support our vital local industries which, in turn, strengthens our regional economy. It is a mutually beneficial system for the students, the employers, and the community.”

David McNeil, district manager of Duke Energy, said it’s important to support programs like the Manufacturing Pathways Apprenticeship to strengthen the pipeline of highly-skilled workers who will move North Carolina forward.

“Our investments come full circle when many of the students go on to work for area industries, and those industries then gain skilled workers trained to meet specific, local needs,” he said.

This grant is part of Duke Energy’s $35 million investment in North Carolina’s community colleges’ focus on technical education and support of business and industry.

Individual community colleges could apply for funds through the North Carolina Community Foundation and the Foundation for the Carolinas. Applications were reviewed by a committee of representatives from Duke Energy, N.C. Community College System and N.C. Department of Commerce.

By Natalie Davis

Staff Writer