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Oconee County Launches Youth Apprenticeship Program

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Oconee County has launched a new ‘Youth Apprenticeship Program’ in partnership with the School District of Oconee County and Apprenticeship Carolina. This workforce development program aims to place young people in various business settings in order to acquire hands-on experience and gain a deeper understanding of today’s global business environment. Ultimately the program will ensure a qualified workforce for our community.

The ‘Youth Apprenticeship Program’ is primarily geared towards Oconee County’s manufacturing sector. In order to create this talent pipeline, the Hamilton Career Center will work with the county’s industrial base to form the necessary partnerships, as well as provide classroom training and the hands-on learning environments deemed necessary in this recognized apprenticeship model.

“The School District is thrilled to be a partner in this initiative.  We are always excited to help students become gainfully employed in a local business,” stated Dr. Michael Thorsland, Superintendent for the School District of Oconee County.  “We are also happy to assist Oconee County businesses and industries by helping to provide motivated and talented students to become tomorrow’s workforce.”

“Hamilton Career Center is excited to be partnering with Apprenticeship Carolina and Oconee Economic Alliance on this initiative,” commented Mike Pearson, Director of the Hamilton Career Center.  “We look forward to working with them, along with our business and industry partners, to give our students the skills and experiences they need to become an integral part of the local workforce.”

Along with the launch of the ‘Youth Apprenticeship Program,’ Oconee County officials and Apprenticeship Carolina officials are recognizing the first company in the county to take advantage of this new program. Greenfield Industries, located in Seneca, has agreed to train the program’s first six high school students.

“The South Carolina Youth Apprenticeship program continues to gain momentum across the state as business leaders reach down into the high schools and career and technology centers to develop their next generation workforce pipeline,” said Carla Whitlock, Senior Apprenticeship Consultant with Apprenticeship Carolina. “We are very excited to add Oconee County to the list of areas within the state that have registered youth programs.”

“This program is going to be a difference maker in our economic development pursuits both in working with new companies coming to the area and our existing industrial base,” said Richard K. Blackwell, executive director of the Oconee Economic Alliance. “Over time, this new workforce development program will bear important fruit that will continue to make Oconee County a prime location for business.”


Apprenticeship Carolina
Apprenticeship Carolina™, a division of the SC Technical College System, works to ensure all employers in South Carolina have access to the information and technical assistance they need to create demand-driven registered apprenticeship programs. At no cost to the employer, apprenticeship consultants are available to guide companies through the registered apprenticeship development process from initial information to full recognition in the national Registered Apprenticeship System.

Oconee Economic Alliance
The Oconee Economic Alliance is a public-private nonprofit effort to accelerate job creation and capital investment, increase per capita income, diversify the local tax base and generate awareness of Oconee County, South Carolina as a business location. To learn more, please visit

Hamilton Career Center
The Fred P. Hamilton Career, (formally the Oconee Vocational Center), was established in 1968. Today, there is a wide array of courses offered including: Health Science, Sports Medicine, Architectural & Mechanical Design, Graphic Communications, Law Enforcement, Core Electronics, Accounting, Digital Multimedia, and Welding Technology, just to name a few. Hamilton Career Center offers over 20 Career & Technology Education programs that support students as they prepare in high school for transition to colleges, universities, and careers. The Hamilton Career Center works together with students, parents, businesses, industries, and teachers in order for students to excel in career and technology education.

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