Apprenticeships meet need for skilled workers.

With the number of job seekers at historic lows, employers who once could harvest a room full of workers by hanging a sign are carefully cultivating potential employees one person at a time. Milliken recently plucked up three more through its apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeship Carolina, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, addresses the skilled worker shortage by connecting employers with technical college students in a registered apprenticeship program. Registered apprenticeship provides employers with opportunities to grow their own workforce.

"Throughout the Apprenticeship Carolina history, we have worked with well over 1,000 companies here in South Carolina across all industries who have registered apprenticeship programs, and we're very proud of that," said Carla Whitlock, senior apprenticeship consultant, during an apprentice signing event recently at Milliken & Co. in Spartanburg. "And here in the Upstate, the majority of our programs are manufacturing oriented."

Three students signed commitments to Milliken through the Apprenticeship Carolina program. They were:

Johnny Deal, who attends Spartanburg Community College and works at Milliken's Limestone plant in Gaffney

Andrew Green, who attends Spartanburg Community College and works at Milliken's Magnolia plant in Blacksburg

Sam Mickel, who attends Tri-County Technical College and works at Milliken's Cushman plant in Williamston

"I wanted to take part in Milliken's apprenticeship program because I wanted to get a head start on my career and gain experience," Mickel said. "I heard a lot of great things about Milliken, like how seriously they take workplace safety."

Each apprentice is working toward an associate degree related...

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