The Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) is seeking current high school seniors interested in pursuing a successful automotive career for participation in the 2020-2021 North Carolina Automotive Apprenticeship Program. Apprentices in the program receive a free education through the North Carolina Community College system while gaining on-the-job experience and earning wages by working part-time at an approved shop. IGONC Executive Director Tricia Sauls points out, “A lack of qualified technicians is hurting the industry, and this is a great way to turn that shortage around.”
Apprentices receive a paycheck for working from the shop, and these part-time wages are the only cost incurred by shops that participate in the program as trainers. Shops must also maintain good standing with the association, and IGONC is also accepting applications from shops with trainers interested in improving the industry’s future. Sauls says, “If a shop wants a good pool of qualified talent to hire from in the future, it is important for them to nurture the technicians of tomorrow, today. As many shop owners see it, they are growing their own employees and are able to train them right from the start.”
Apprentices who successfully complete the program will graduate with a degree and zero debt, in addition to a certified apprenticeship and Journeyman’s card.
Interested high school seniors must register with the apprenticeship program and be placed with an approved shop before graduation. Over the course of the apprenticeship, students must demonstrate proficiency in a number of tasks; containing nearly 40 specific job functions, the list includes tasks related to engine repair, automatic and manual transmissions and transaxles, suspension and steering, and brakes. In addition to mastering these tasks, apprentices must meet a certain number of hours at school and in the shop in order for their tuition to be waived.
IGONC is diligently working on reaching students earlier in their schooling to make them aware of the opportunities that exist within the industry. In the near future, the association hopes to add a pre-apprenticeship program that would allow students to register at age 16 and shift into the apprenticeship program after graduation.
Although North Carolina’s apprenticeship program has been around for years, it was not available to automotive students until earlier in 2019 when, after nearly three years’ of effort, the IGONC finally saw all its hard work come to fruition with the introduction of the North Carolina Automotive Apprenticeship Program. The association is thrilled to do its part to address the ongoing tech shortage plaguing the automotive industry.
In an effort to reduce the automotive industry technician shortage, the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) is sponsoring the North Carolina Automotive Apprenticeship Program. Employers can participate at no cost and are able to interview and select their own apprentices. *Participating shops must be a member in good standing with IGONC. The North Carolina Automotive Apprenticeship Program is open to high school seniors who must register with the program and be placed with an approved shop prior to graduation from their high school. Registered apprentices receive an hourly wage, paid tuition and possible grant money, allowing them to get their automotive degree cost free. During the program, they will also be paid to obtain real world experience in an established automotive shop, under a season technician. Once completed, they will receive their degree, apprentice certification and Journeyman’s Card.