Jacob Bell gets his college tuition covered and is making money through a part-time job in his field of Automotive Systems.
Andy Shaw Ford of Sylva gets a much-needed mechanic-in-training in a time when those are in short supply.
And Southwestern Community College gets a highly motivated student who’s literally learning around the clock.
Everyone wins through an apprenticeship program coordinated by Southwestern through the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation, and all parties are pleased with the direction it’s going – one year into the process.
“It’s definitely a win-win-win situation,” said David Myers, who oversees the Automotive Systems Technology program at SCC. “Jacob’s gaining experience in the field that matches what he’s learning in our classes and labs, and he gets to see how an automotive repair department operates within a local dealership.”
A 2022 graduate of Swain County High School, Bell initially landed an internship working for Andy Shaw Ford through funding provided by HIGHTS (Helping Inspire Gifts of Hope, Trust and Service). Erica Bullock, General Manager of Andy Shaw Ford, credited Caroline Williamson and Dawn Gilchrist of HIGHTS with initially helping the dealership connect with Bell.
After utilizing that funding, Bell needed additional support to complete his associate degree at Southwestern. That’s when Jennifer Abbey, SCC’s Work-Based Learning Coordinator, stepped in to help identify another funding source through ASE.
Not only does the apprenticeship ensure Bell gets the education and training he needs, it also provides funding that assists the employer – in this case Andy Shaw Ford – by paying half of the apprentice’s wages for up to 2,000 hours.
“I can’t say enough good things about the partnership between HIGHTS and SCC and helping Jacob get into this program,” Bullock said. “We are thrilled with Jacob and the work he’s doing in our service department. It’s been a positive experience for everyone.”
For more information about apprenticeships at Southwestern, contact Abbey at 828.339.4482 or j_abbey@SouthwesternCC.edu.