A-B Tech Marks National Apprenticeship Week with New Department and Apprenticeships




A-B Tech Community College’s new Department of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeships is bringing focused energy and creating distinctive apprenticeships as it observes National Apprenticeship week from November 15-21.

A-B Tech has engaged in work-based learning and apprenticeships for years but had not created a focused department until this year. It is partnering with employers and organizations throughout the region and already has launched two new apprenticeships that were firsts for North Carolina.

“The college, my staff, and I are thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to work with ApprenticeshipNC and our many great business and industry partners to build a stronger and more sustainable workforce allowing students to build a lifelong set of skills providing a secure career and future security,” said Debbie Cromwell, director of A-B Tech’s new Work-Based Learning (WBL) and Apprenticeships department.   “Collaborative partnerships can be the cornerstone of success.”

Cromwell said A-B Tech is capitalizing on national momentum surrounding apprenticeships, including historic investments and bipartisan passage of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, which will create and expand registered and youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs.

“We are experiencing a larger investment in workforce training than we saw during the Great Recession,” said Cromwell. “We are looking at billions of dollars going toward our public workforce system to support training and capacity at community and technical colleges, as well as industry and sector partnerships.”

A-B Tech has launched a broad program to expand apprenticeships for youth and adults, including:

  • Partnering with local high schools to expand pre-apprenticeship options for youth
  •  Building certificate programs for adults
  •  Launching the first Comprehensive Culinary Apprentice in North Carolina with Givens Estates
  • Providing the educational component for the first Registered Early Childhood Education Apprentice in North Carolina with the Irene Wortham Center

Employers who work with A-B Tech also praised the college’s commitment to apprenticeships.

“The apprenticeship program has been integral at Atlas in developing the next generation of toolmakers,” said Dennis Kanupp, vice president of operations at Atlas Precision Inc. “The young talent we have at Atlas currently is very impressive helping us with continuous improvement. They have a very curious spirit allowing them to think out of the box. With the support of the NC Apprenticeship program, Atlas is extremely optimistic about our future.”

Cromwell also praised local consultants from ApprenticeshipNC and the Partnership for Advancing Youth Apprenticeships (PAYA) for their support and for encouraging greater use of registered apprenticeships.

The U.S. Department of Labor proclaimed this week as the 7th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW). The observance provides the opportunity to highlight apprenticeship opportunities and successes.

Learn more about A-B Tech’s Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship programs by visiting abtech.edu/WBL or emailing Debbie Cromwell at debbiecromwell@abtech.edu or Niccole Watson at niccolemwatson@abtech.edu.

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