U.S. Rep Joe Wilson holds Apprenticeship Forum for Midlands Tech students

US Rep. Joe Wilson at forum.

Students were invited to attend Congressman Joe Wilson’s Apprenticeship Forum at Midlands Technical College, Airport campus, Tuesday afternoon. Wilson invited six different experts from technical education and manufacturing to join him on the stage in a panel.

The panelists and Wilson discussed the growing skills gap not just within our state, but nationally. “I am grateful that South Carolina has been especially successful in using career and technical education programs to partner with businesses and create jobs,” said Wilson. He stressed that apprenticeship programs are key to building a successful workforce.

The three manufacturer panelists addressed the benefits mentorship programs provide students. According to panelist Arjonetta Gaillard, HR Manager for MTU America, the programs provide students with beneficial training, an income, and a chance for certification at the end of the program. “The skills they’re getting, they can take anywhere,” she said. Gaillard mentioned that at the end of the program if the student is not offered a job with her company, the skills they’ve learned through the apprenticeship will be applicable to many different career options.

Site Training Manager for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Kevin Whitt, acknowledged that there are multiple “technical school pipelines” that lead students to jobs with his company. He listed Associates degrees in Quality Assurance, Welding, Laboratory Technician, and Chemical Technology that all can set students up for potential long-term careers within the SRS organization.

Wilson noted that the job market is changing rapidly, and it’s our job to prepare accordingly. “We must continue to advance programs that support jobs for meaningful lives,” he said. After the panelists were finished, Wilson encouraged listeners from the floor to ask the experts questions relating to the information presented in the forum.

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