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STANLY COUNTY, N.C. – Stanly County Youth Apprenticeship Partners has signed its first two pre-apprentices who want to prepare for a career in the automotive industry.
The pre-apprentices are Jarred Simpson, a senior at West Stanly High School, and Hunter Morgan, a senior at North Stanly High School. As part of the pre-apprenticeship, Simpson and Morgan will be paid and receive on-the-job training, followed by a community college tuition waiver.
Stanly Youth Apprenticeship Partners is a team of three automotive leaders in the region: Whitley Automotive and NAPA Auto Parts, both in Locust, and Frog Pong Performance in Oakboro.
Students selected for the automotive pre-apprenticeship are assigned to work at each of the three partnering businesses, giving them a window into the operations of each company.
Providing pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs to Stanly County high school students has created an opportunity to directly engage students with their passions while jumpstarting their career path before even graduating high school.
Each of the pre-apprentices had their own reasons for choosing this path.
“I chose to be in this apprenticeship because of my love for cars and the want to understand and work on them more,” Simpson said.
For Morgan, the motivation was slightly different. “I made this decision to get a broader future plan started,” he said. “This program is a great opportunity for me to learn and experience more about this career and what to expect. This program can help me with college in the future.”
After his first two weeks in the program, Simpson said he had learned a lot about how automotive shops work. “The most enjoyable thing I have experienced in this program is the willingness of other techs to teach. They have so much knowledge and I am truly gaining from it."
Morgan’s previous experience with automobiles had involved working on old trucks at home. The pre-apprenticeship at Frog Pond Performance has already presented him with unique learning opportunities. “I was able to help pull out and put in a new motor in a 2016 Equinox that had a blown motor,” he said. “I also have learned about doing services and what to check for while you have the car on the lift.”
At the end of this semester, Simpson and Morgan will have the opportunity to sign up for a full-time apprenticeship with one of the companies, which will include a community college tuition waiver. The waiver pays for their related education to obtain an associate degree as an automotive technician. This allows for the student to continue to build on their skills while continuing to work.
Students and families interested in learning more about this opportunity can contact the Career Development Coordinator at their high school.