9/5/2018 – CCC&TI taking part in program to train high school students for high-demand furniture jobs

Posted on: September 5th, 2018 by admin


September 5, 2018


By James Branch
(Lenoir) News-Topic


A new program will offer training for about a dozen high school students interested in two high-demand furniture-related professions.


Starting in early 2019, the program will give training for six high school seniors in industrial sewing, doing sewing for cushions, pillows and other upholstery, and eight in industrial upholstery, which attaches what the industrial sewer makes to the finished furniture. Both are jobs that businesses in Caldwell County are having trouble finding skilled labor for, said Randy Ledford, vice president of instruction at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.


The program will be offered through ApprenticeshipNC, a part of the North Carolina Community College System that has handled apprenticeship programs through CCC&TI in the past. But normal apprenticeships programs require the students involved to be at least 18 years old, which excludes some high school seniors, said Libby Huff, the Career and Technical Education director for the Caldwell County Schools.


This, instead, will be a pre-apprenticeship program.


“The pre-apprenticeship program opens up the apprenticeship program to high school seniors and gets them an early start,” she said.


The program will combine in-class instruction with hands-on experience in a setting that resembles a factory setting, offering high school seniors a chance to learn marketable skills before they graduate high school, she said.


Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said she is excited about the new program.


“We have been talking about how to best prepare high school students for jobs in the community,” Murray said. “We think this will offer a good taste of what it will be like to work in these jobs.”


Huff and Ledford have worked closely with industries in the area to make sure the program teaches job skills that are in high demand. It will operate in the basement of the E.M. Dudley Job Training Center on CCC&TI’s campus in a space set up by a team made up of workers from local furniture factories, Ledford said.


Most instructors involved in the pre-apprenticeships have worked in the industries they are teaching, he said.


“They have the years of experience in the field to really help these students,” Ledford said.


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