LEXINGTON, N.C. — With the demand for skilled trade workers rising across the nation, a Triad-area community college is offering a program for students to learn while getting paid.
What You Need To Know
- The need for skilled trade workers has soared since the start of the pandemic
- The Davidson-Davie Apprenticeship Consortium offers a paid apprenticeship with local manufacturers, who also cover the cost of education at Davidson-Davie Community College
- Applications for the Class of 2026 are now open
The Davidson-Davie Apprenticeship Program first launched in 2019. It’s a partnership between Davidson-Davie Community College and several local manufacturers.
Participating students are in the classroom one day a week, then they are placed in a paid apprenticeship with companies like EGGER Wood Products, KURZ Transfer Products, BMK Americas and Mohawk Industries to gain on-the-job experience.
The manufacturing companies cover the cost of education for these students.
“I was going to come out debt-free out of school and have a full-time position as soon as I was out of school, so I mean I couldn’t really refuse it,” mechanical apprentice Garrett Boger said.
Boger is in his second year with the program. At 19 years old, his career path is set. Boger knew he’d grow up to work with his hands. His father works in the same industry.
“I enjoy figuring things out, knowing how they work and then putting them back together and watching them run again,” Boger said.
Through the apprenticeship program, Boger works on machines at KURZ Transfer Products in Lexington, where he’s putting what he’s learned in the classroom into practice. Boger will stay with the company as a full-time employee after graduating.
At the start of the pandemic, the need for skilled trade workers skyrocketed.
From March 2020 to January 2021, the demand for drywall finishers increased by 100%, while the demand for cement masons and concrete finishers increased by 70%, according to an analysis by staffing company PeopleReady. Demand for construction workers increased by 57%.
Demand for electricians is up 31.6% from pre-pandemic numbers, according to Qmerit.
The Davidson-Davie Apprenticeship Program is now accepting applications for the Class of 2026, who will follow a four-year program for mechanical or electrical manufacturing or a two-year certificate in production operation.
Applications will be accepted until May. Click here for more information.