A-B Tech and the Biltmore Estate kicked off National Apprenticeship Week today by announcing a new culinary apprenticeship partnership.
Observed November 13-19 this year, National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration that brings together business leaders, apprentices, labor, education institutions, and other critical partners to promote the value of Registered Apprenticeships. This year’s theme is “Registered Apprenticeship: Superhighway to Good Jobs”.
“The theme reflects the prominence that Registered Apprenticeships have received as a proven and industry-driven training model that expedites the pathway into good jobs,” said Debbie Cromwell, A-B Tech’s Director of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeships. “Registered Apprentices are individuals who receive on-the-job training from a master-level supervisor, as well as job-related education from community colleges and/or trade organizations. Apprentices are paid employees who need additional training to qualify for a position. This experience is often referred to as ‘Earn While You Learn’.”
“Biltmore’s legacy of learning began more than a century ago with George and Edith Vanderbilt, and continues today as we partner with outstanding community organizations like A-B Tech, which offers one of the most successful culinary programs in the country,” said Biltmore Talent Manager Michelle Klickovich. “A-B Tech culinary graduates are professional, prepared, and motivated, and we are proud to be part of their journey by providing real-world experiences that support the instruction offered by their faculty. In continued partnership with A-B Tech, we look forward to developing a new hospitality management apprenticeship for those interested in food or lodging operations management.”
Biltmore’s first culinary apprentices include Graham Edwards, Chevas Farmer, and Lorya Harbison, who take classes in A-B Tech’s culinary certificate program and work in restaurants on the Biltmore Estate.
“We are thrilled to have Biltmore as a part of the NC Apprenticeship program, with three culinary students beginning their studies and on-the-job training this fall,” said Cathy Horton, A-B Tech’s Director of Culinary Arts and Hospitality. “Employers who are serious about generating loyal employees who will be educated and trained at this high level are setting themselves apart from those offering just another job. Apprenticeships create a bond between the employer and student/employee that can last for years and show a commitment to excellence in many ways.”
Support for apprenticeships is strong nationwide and the NC General Assembly has awarded millions in grant funding over the last two years to ApprenticeshipNC for assisting employers in creating new career options for both youth and adults through a registered apprenticeship program. Cromwell said. “Both Madison and Buncombe County employers have embraced apprenticeships with great enthusiasm, providing a multitude of new options for their communities,” she said.
A-B Tech works with ApprenticeshipNC to track approximately 150 apprentices within numerous occupations such as healthcare, early childhood education, mechatronics, electrical, technology, HVAC, emergency services, business, and culinary. Cromwell said the college also gets state curriculum funding for more than 30 apprentices who are its students, as well as for IBEW electrical apprenticeships that are run through continuing education.
An apprentice may be a current high school student, recent graduate, experienced worker, military veteran, or an individual seeking re-entry. “It’s life-changing for students who are part of this program,” Cromwell said. “They’re earning while they’re learning. That’s like the golden egg.”