First apprenticeship for Macon County Schools and local business in place
Nov 5 2022

By Kim Gregory Ward Macon County Times October 27, 2022

Scott Ludick from Volunteer Sinitered Products worked together with state and local leaders to create an apprenticeship program for students to be work ready from high school.

Anglito Gonzalez signed papers Oct. 20, with Ludick present, during the career fair at the high school.

“This program is a welcome addition to our work force,” Ludick said. “Just like many other companies, finding and keeping staff during and after Covid has been difficult at times.”

Marla Davis, academic career coach for Macon County Schools, noted that Volunteer Sintered hired a “student who did work-based learning with them. Volunteer Sintered thought that worked out well, let’s create a 3 to 7 p.m. shift for him.”

Discussion then began with getting more students to come on board.

“That is the type of partnership we would like to build on with other employers in our area,” Davis said.

Ludick said “labor is a precious commodity here and all across the country. I am pleased that we can integrate a service industry education, along with a long-term career path, if he chooses to stay with us.

“Temp agencies did not work out well, and we were wanting to find young men and women who were considering a career path through apprenticeships. We offer competitive wages as other industries in Macon County. And, Gonzalez has really been striving to learn and assist our workforce.”

“Ultimately our job is to develop self-sustaining citizens, and apprenticeships gives students and a career path with a paycheck. And, the educational component that leads to a state issued credential they can take with should they choose to leave.” Davis said.

From the state level, Dan Tidcomb of Tennessee Central Economic Authority, developed a workforce retention and expansion program. Tidcomb found an untapped talent pool in the community. “Workforce retention is a national issue that the communities in the towns we serve are also dealing with,” he said.

Tidcomb concluded with “I applaud Rosa and Scott at Volunteer Sintered for their assertiveness and innovative thinking to being the first company in the community to take advantage of it.”