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Apprenticeship Randolph holds annual Signing Day

Local companies sign 21 area students

ASHEBORO — Twenty-one area students signed as registered apprentices on Apprenticeship Randolph’s annual Signing Day Aug. 3, held in the R. Alton Cox Learning Resources Center Auditorium at Randolph Community College. The ceremony aired Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. on Apprenticeship Randolph’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

Ubaldo Gutierrez and Terence Franklin
Post Consumer Brands Maintenance Technician Apprentice Ubaldo Gutierrez receives a Post ballcap from Maintenance Reliability Manager Terence Franklin before sitting down to sign his ApprenticeshipNC commitment form.

The apprentices and industry partners took the stage at 15-minute interval appointment times with family and friends looking on in the audience. Masks were required and wellness checks were made at the door per COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.

The fourth Apprenticeship Randolph class represented the three local school systems — Asheboro City Schools, Randolph County Schools, and Uwharrie Charter Academy. In all, 17 apprentices are taking the Advanced Manufacturing track with four apprenticing in the newest track, Information Technology (IT). Sixteen students signed up in 2017 — the first year of the program, and 17 signed in 2018. With the addition of Automotive Systems Technology in 2019, 22 signed.

Josiah Meraz and Logan Sink both signed with Jowat Adhesives on the IT track.

“I saw a great opportunity to further extend and to really have a great career in what I was really enjoying, which was working with computers,” said Meraz, a Uwharrie Ridge 6-12 student. “When I was little, I was always fascinated with working with computers and watching my brother build his own computer.

Kenneth Houston Signing Day
Maintenance Apprentice Kenneth Houston watches as his mentor, Maintenance Manager Al Fogleman of Technimark, and Human Resource Specialist Lauren Depuy sign the ApprenticeshipNC forms.

“The signing ceremony was really nice. It was just such a fantastic moment to be able to go up on stage and sign those papers and to truly feel accepted into something I really enjoy.”

Sink, a Wheatmore High School student, said he looked forward to having the opportunity to grow under the leadership of those who already have the industry know-how while earning a free college education sparked his interest in Apprenticeship Randolph.

“Information technology deals with the technology that is increasingly crucial to our everyday lives,” Sink said. “I want to be part of the change, and part of the innovation that will fuel our future success. It was great to be honored for our success and to be able to meet some of the other apprentices in our same position. I was nervous, but also thankful to have this incredible opportunity. My family came — my mother, father, sister, and aunt. They were incredibly proud and appreciated the photo opportunity.

“I encourage anyone who wants to be able to get ahead of the curve to look into the apprenticeship program. There are great companies with great benefits and a lifelong journey waiting for you. You will have to persevere and put in some effort to get there, but it is definitely worth it. Keep your eyes on the prize.”

Tyler Hulin and Larry Lagroon
Tyler Hulin signs with United Brass Works as Larry Lagroon, Manager of Machining & Manufacturing Engineering, watches.

Noah Guinn of WHS signed with Mohawk Industries on the Advanced Manufacturing track.

“I chose the apprenticeship because I saw no better option to get into a technical field than through this program,” he said. “My college is paid for, and I have a job already in the field I planned on pursuing, as well as having four years of on-the-job experience at the end of it. The signing ceremony was very well-orchestrated and well thought out. I appreciate the apprenticeship in every way.”

Apprenticeship Randolph began in June 2016 as a collaboration among Randolph Community College, the Randolph County School System, Asheboro City Schools, the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce, and local manufacturers. The goal was to bridge both the interest and skill gaps in modern manufacturing and provide a vehicle for expanding the workforce pool for advanced manufacturing in the county. With tuition funded through Career and College Promise and the N.C. Youth Apprenticeship Tuition Waiver Program and books paid for by the school systems and the participating companies, Apprenticeship Randolph produces an educated, skilled, debt-free workforce.

The program, which is for high school juniors and seniors, begins with a six-week, pre-apprenticeship summer program that consists of RCC classes and 40 hours per week of on-the-job training. Once a business selects its apprentice after this trial period, the program is spread over four years with students receiving paid, on-the-job training while earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Manufacturing Technology, in Automotive Systems Technology, or Information Technology through RCC and a Journeyworker Certificate from the N.C. Community College System and U.S. Department of Labor.

This year, more than 100 applications from across the county were submitted for 18 Manufacturing positions and four Information Technology positions.

For more information, contact RCC Pathways Activities Coordinator Stacey Miller at 336-318-4958, or email

Apprenticeship Randolph is always looking to add company partners. Interested 2020-21 rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors should speak with their Career Development Coordinators at their high schools to indicate interest in this program.

This year’s pre-apprentices (with high school) and industry partners are as follows:
• Elastic Therapy Inc. — Kamden Carlyle (Southwestern Randolph High School), Danny Prieto Torres (Asheboro High School)
• Energizer — Jerry Mize (Providence Grove High School), Sarah Primera (Eastern Randolph High School)
• Jowat Adhesives — Travis Jackson (Wheatmore High School), Damion McCafferty (Trinity High School), Josiah Meraz (Uwharrie Ridge 6-12 School), Logan Sink (Wheatmore High School)
• Mohawk Industries — Noah Guinn (Wheatmore High School), Payton Murdock (Randleman High School).
• Oliver Rubber — Darius Fernandez (Asheboro High School), Monye McQuaig-Graham (Randleman High School), Dean Wiseman (Asheboro High School)
• Post Consumer Brands — Christian Foley (Uwharrie Charter Academy), Ubaldo Gutierrez (Asheboro High School)
• Sapona Plastics — Joshua Hogan (Southwestern Randolph High School)
• Randolph Community College — Daniel Botchway (Asheboro High School)
• Technimark — Kenneth Houston (Eastern Randolph High School), Aiden Register (Eastern Randolph High School), Orion Simmons (Eastern Randolph High School)
• United Brass Works — Tyler Hulin (Randleman High School)
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