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Apprenticeship Carolina surpasses key milestone

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Apprenticeship Carolina, a program of the S.C. Technical College System, has surpassed its goal of 20,000 apprentices. The group had hoped to reach the goal by the year 2020, but completed it three years ahead of schedule.

Established in 2007, Apprenticeship Carolina works to increase the awareness and use of registered apprenticeships in the state. Apprenticeship Carolina is South Carolina's official liaison for registering programs with the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Registered apprenticeship programs provide bench strength for future leadership,” Tim Hardee, president of the S.C. Technical College System, said in a press release. “It helps bridge the talent gap many companies struggle with as their workforce ages. It effectively transfers key knowledge from seasoned employees to new workers.”

Since its inception in 2007, the number of registered programs has increased from 90 to 877. The current number of apprentices is more than 26,000, up from 777 in 2007.

"It's an approach that works. The exponential growth is proof that business and industry in our state see apprenticeship as a crucial tool in their workforce development toolbox."

Apprenticeship Carolina has broadened the scope to include non-traditional industry sectors such as health care, information technology, tourism, advanced manufacturing and service industries. Because of its innovative approach and fast growth, Apprenticeship Carolina is held as a model for the nation.

A 2003 study conducted by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce found a systematic structure should be created for encouraging the development of apprenticeship training opportunities statewide. The study also suggested the best central organization for promoting apprenticeship programs in the state would be the S.C. Technical College System.

“This astounding growth reinforces the chamber's initial recommendation to house South Carolina's statewide apprenticeship initiative with the S.C. Technical College System. It was a good decision that has paid off for our state.” said Robbie Barnett, COO for the state chamber.

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