Success Story: Machine Specialties Inc. & Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith of Machine Specialties Inc.

I hope to be a role model for other women who choose apprenticeship.
Courtney Smith


Courtney Smith



  • Manufacturing

Courtney Smith just started her third year as an apprentice with Machine Specialties Inc. in Whitsett. She chose apprenticeship after graduating from high school as an affordable option for an education.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do after I graduated,” said Smith. “Paying thousands of dollars for college when I didn’t have a clear direction did not make sense. Apprenticeship seemed like a good choice.”

Smith was nervous at first. “I didn’t have any previous knowledge of machinery or engineering and was worried I wouldn’t know anything. MSI understood that and had the training program set up so between classes and on-the-job training, I could learn everything I needed. It is much more of a mentor-mentee program, so the apprentices receive good support.”

The biggest benefit, according to Smith, is getting a free education. “This is my first job,” she said. “I have learned not only the skills I need to do the work itself, but also what is expected in the workplace and how to maintain workplace relationships. MSI even has a monthly program offering life skills and advice on your 401(k) and finances, relationships, making car payments, and other helpful skills.”

When asked what she would tell others considering apprenticeship, Smith said, “There’s no downside, so give it a try. You get an education and are paid while you work. I hope to be a role model for other women who choose apprenticeship.”