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First Arthrex apprentice chosen from Pickens County

Staff Report //February 14, 2020//

First Arthrex apprentice chosen from Pickens County

Staff Report //February 14, 2020//

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Anderson County’s newest manufacturer has selected its first youth apprentice from the Pickens County Career and Technology Center program.

Bradie Reece, one of the top machine technology students in South Carolina, will learn advanced machining skills at Arthrex’s new facility near Sandy Springs, between Pendleton and Anderson, according to a news release from Apprenticeship Carolina.

Reece is working toward her degree in CNC programming with Tri-County Technical College while completing her high school education. Her mobile robotics team earned second place during the Skills USA National Championship in 2019. Reece also participated in a national five-axis machine high school competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense where her team finished fourth.

Arthrex, which develops and manufactures minimally invasive medical products for an international customer base, worked with Apprenticeship Carolina to establish the youth apprenticeship program this year to enhance its relationship with career and technology centers in the Upstate, the news release said.

Arthrex’s facility in Anderson County is its fourth U.S.-based manufacturing plant, and the company plans to employ about 1,000 people at the site over the next seven years. 

“We are happy to be part of a community that is dedicated to developing a workforce pipeline,” Melanie McLane, human resources manager for Arthrex, said in a news release. “We are especially excited to play a role in introducing medical device manufacturing to Upstate youth. This partnership with Pickens County Career and Technology Center is just another step in our commitment to developing relationships with career and technology centers in the Upstate area.”

She said the youth apprenticeship program will be expanded into Anderson and Oconee counties.

Ken Hitchcock, director of the Pickens County Career and Technology Center, said he is excited about the opportunity the partnership provides.

“The advanced machine technology skills required by Arthrex will inspire our center to take instruction to the next level,” he said in the news release. “This advancement in skills will provide unprecedented opportunities for our students and advanced manufacturing companies in Pickens and Anderson counties.”

The number of organizations participating in Apprenticeship Carolina programs has increased from 90 in 2007 to 1,038 today, and the number of apprentices has grown from 777 to more than 33,000, according to the release. Youth apprenticeship programs have also increased. Currently, there are 230 youth programs across the state, which is up from just five in 2012.

Apprenticeship Carolina is a part of the S.C. Technical College System.

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