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When the staff of Machine Specialties Inc. began working to set up an apprenticeship program, the effort snowballed into a consortium of companies interested in the training model.
Located in the eastern Guilford County town of Whitsett, N.C., MSI makes precision parts for the aerospace, medical, commercial and energy industries and the military. “The type of employees that we use are the most highly skilled and highly trained,” said Tammy Simmons, MSI vice president, “and the job market just really hasn’t been able to produce the amount that we needed to continue to grow and to replace the ones that were retiring.”
Another company told MSI about ApprenticeshipNC, and the process began. MSI banded together with other area businesses to form Guilford Apprenticeship Partners, a consortium of employers offering apprenticeships. Today, more than 30 companies and two municipalities are members of GAP.
“Not a lot of people know this, but North Carolina apprenticeship is being looked at all over the country (as a model),” Simmons said.