The funding of two grants will provide opportunities for registered apprenticeships.
Duke Energy has provided two grants for the Registered Apprenticeships Program at Forsyth Tech. In Fall 2019, Duke Energy gave $200,000 to support apprenticeships and in June 2020, Duke awarded $50,000 to support apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs at Forsyth Tech through the Learn and Earn Apprenticeship program.
“In order for our community to thrive, we must work together to fill jobs with skilled employees,” said Janet Spriggs, president of Forsyth Technical Community College. “Through our Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Program (LEAP@Forsyth), students get on-the-job training while in school, giving them new insight in what they are learning in class. This program is giving underemployed or unemployed individuals an opportunity for a rewarding career.”
This grant is part of the $5 million Duke Energy/Piedmont Natural Gas Community College Apprenticeship Grant program announced in April 2017. The apprenticeship grant program was administered by NC Community Foundation and Foundation for the Carolinas. Award decisions were made by a committee of representatives from Duke Energy, NC Community College System and NC Department of Commerce.
“North Carolina’s community colleges are essential to train the workforce that businesses rely on,” said Jimmy Flythe, Duke Energy director of government and community relations. “We are proud to partner with Forsyth Tech to give students job opportunities while preparing them to meet the region’s evolving business needs.”
Since 2004, Duke Energy has invested $45 million in North Carolina’s Community Colleges, with a focus on technical education and support of business and industry.
Here’s how three Forsyth Tech computer numeric control machinist apprentices express what the grant means to them. “The Duke Energy Apprenticeship grant opened up opportunities for both me and my spouse,” said Colin Tomkins, with Siemens Energy. “This scholarship, quite literally, gave me the opportunity to start my career.”
Tompkins had just moved from Atlanta a few months before the apprenticeship program began. He was able to accept this scholarship with no savings and otherwise no way to pay for college. Also, because he didn’t have to worry about the cost of his education, he and his wife were eventually able to save up enough money for her to start earning her second degree starting this fall.
“The Duke Energy Grant has helped me on the path to learning a trade and into a new field of employment,” said Debbie Moore, with Siemens Energy. “I am so grateful for the opportunity that the grant has afforded me, thanks to Duke Energy.”
“Every student fears college debt, but with the Duke Energy Apprenticeship grant I can focus on my classes and the job I’ve been given without the crushing weight of tuition on me,” Brixtin Harvey, with Progress Rail. “The difference this grant has made can be seen in the lack of bags under my eyes every single day.”
Apprentices gain access to jobs in demand for the Piedmont Triad area and puts them on a career path that, with further education and experience, can lead to wage growth and a rewarding career.
“This grant provides a tremendous opportunity for adult students who may not qualify for tuition waivers that youth apprentices receive, said Danielle Rose, apprenticeship coordinator at Forsyth Tech. Because of this funding, we can recruit and train a broader workforce for our employer partners.”
“We are grateful to Duke Energy for this support,” said Spriggs. “Teaming up with Duke Energy we’re addressing these critical needs and increasing economic opportunities. This is one more way that Forsyth Tech is a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities.”
If you are interested in the Learn and Earn Apprenticeship program, please contact Danielle Rose, apprenticeship coordinator at Forsyth Tech.