OCSD4 magnet school partners with local industry in apprenticeship program
T&D. Gene Zaleski. July 24, 2017.

An Orangeburg heating and cooling manufacturer is working with Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4's Next Gen Magnet School to create a pipeline of skilled employees.

Allied Air Enterprises is providing internships for the 2017-2018 school year to freshman and graduating senior students.

Allied Air General Manager Lee Rachels said students coming into the apprenticeship program need to know they “can have a career in manufacturing and not just a job.”

"This gets these students exposed to that early on," he said. "They can see there are development opportunities and room for growth in their career."

The youth apprenticeship program was created earlier this year at Edisto High School. About 12 students will be prepared for the program this fall with actual work at Allied Air beginning in the spring of 2018.

Students who participate will be paid for their work, which is estimated to be between 10 hours to 15 hours per week.

The students will be paired with a mentor at Allied Air and will learn concepts such as time management, safety in an industrial environment, industrial hygiene, problem solving and many other topics that will contribute to their success.

OCSD4’s Next Gen Magnet School offers two paths for students: the collegiate prep path, which prepares students for two-year and four-year collegiate experiences, and the direct-to-workforce path, which prepares students for work immediately after high school graduation.

Students who demonstrate their value and fit for the company during their internships with Allied Air could be offered a full-time job once they graduate.

The first pool of students registered for the program includes Jobeth Robinson, an avid reader who loves fantasy literature.

In the apprenticeship program, she will be introduced to tech writing and corporate training opportunities.

Austin Loadholt says he has an “entrepreneurial spirit” and will bring to Allied Air the “soft skills” desired by the company.

He says he is, “excited to continue learning how to deal with different personalities in a group setting.”

Talicia Cobbs considers herself a “natural leader.”

She takes pride in her work and “enjoys finding ways to be creative with her school assignments.”

Cameron Coker enjoys the martial arts and has earned a brown belt thus far. He “likes the structure found in martial arts and military settings.”

Coker has a desire to learn and manufacture things, in particular armored vehicles, airplanes and other military equipment.

Allied Air Human Resources Manager Dave Tussey said OCDD4 Superintendent Dr. Tim Newman approached him back in April with the idea of the partnership. They are both on the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce board.

Newman said the partnership was prompted by conversations with the Orangeburg County business community about their need to have students graduate with the needed skills and experience.

"There is a huge void in our labor force in the state of South Carolina for advanced manufacturing and manufacturing positions," Newman said. "Allied Air, like a lot of other businesses, are realizing one of the best places you can go to recruit is in our public school systems."

Newman said the program provides local industry with the ability to interact with its future workforce as “they mature through their high school experience.”

The community also benefits, he said.

"Having our students secure jobs where they are making between $40,000 and $60,000 a year allows them to provide for their families, pay taxes and in general be productive citizens in the community they live in," Newman said.

For more information about the Next Gen Magnet School, visit www.nextgenmagnet.org or attend a July 27 open house event at the school, located at 500 RM Foster Road in Cordova.

Refreshments will be served at 5 p.m., a community VIP tour for business owners and other invited members of the community will commence at 5:30 p.m. and a formal presentation will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium.

It will be followed by a tour of the school’s facility and a meet-and-greet with the teachers who are selected to lead the program.

Rachels is going to be the keynote speaker. Other speakers will include Newman and magnet school Principals Mike Ames and Julie Miller.

Visit the News Archive for more magnet school news.