In July Marcus Gore took the “stage” to sign his employment letter with KION North America, which has its headquarters in Summerville, S.C.
He was part of the Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeship Signing Day that took place at Trident Technical College. Students signed employment letters to become apprentices with Charleston-area employers.
This is KION North America’s second year hosting youth apprentices. The company says the program “is one measure towards closing the gap that exists between the jobs of the future and the available workforce in our area.”
Since that day, Gore, a recent graduate of West Ashley High School, has completed his first month as an apprentice with the forklift manufacturer. Durig the program his curriculum will include: industrial safety; hands-on assembly; reading assembly work instructions; participating in quality audits; lean manufacturing techniques such as one-piece flow, 5S and Kaizen; problem-solving techniques; how to work with torque tooling and air-powered equipment; and performing product tests and final inspections. He will complete a minimum of 2,000 hours during his apprenticeship.
This program is part of the area's effort to create a skilled workforce. High school students travel to Trident Technical College two to three days per week where they are enrolled in dual credit classes in a specific area. They also apprentice at an area company for about 10 hours per week. During the summer between the junior and senior year, the students work full-time as paid apprentices.
At the end of the two-year program, students will have earned a high school diploma, certification in a specific field from Trident Tech, credentialing from the U.S. Department of Labor, and two years of paid work experience.
And the students finish the program with zero college debt thanks to the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce's program called the Accelerate Greater Charleston Fund.
The 2017/2018 class was comprised of 75 apprentices with 48 employees participating. Programs include industrial mechanics, machining, HVAC tech, computer programming, computer networking and cybersecurity. For the upcoming school year, the goal is to have 200 apprentices with 99 employers adding in automotive tech and CAD tech.