Fayetteville Technical Community College will partner with Blue Ridge Power and Cumberland County Schools to offer a pre-apprenticeship program in solar power construction to high school students starting in January.
The program was announced Wednesday during a news conference at Blue Ridge Power's offices on Middle River Loop in Fayetteville. At the conference, Blue Ridge Power representatives said the pre-apprenticeship program is one of several elements in its new PowerUp Workforce Development Program. Other elements include an apprenticeship program, internships and a one-week training program called PowerUp Academy.
Dr. Mark Sorrells, FTCC’s senior vice president for academic and student services, said the 16-week pre-apprenticeship program will provide high school students with the chance to train for a job in the fast-growing solar construction industry and to get paid while doing so.
“This is an exciting opportunity for students to earn while they learn valuable skills,” Sorrells said.
For the first 4 weeks, students will attend solar classes in FTCC’s Continuing Education division and receive instruction in safety, tool skills, basic electricity and interpersonal “soft” skills that are also critical for success in the workplace.
For the remaining 12 weeks, FTCC will partner with Blue Ridge Power to teach students about solar construction, including how to build solar arrays.
Students who complete the pre-apprenticeship program will be eligible to apply for a paid apprenticeship with Blue Ridge Power. They will also earn high school and college credits for the course, said Lee Spruill, the workforce development programs manager for Blue Ridge Power.
Sorrells said the pre-apprenticeship program represents FTCC’s strong commitment to supporting the business community and to providing valuable training and educational options for individuals in fields with high-demand, good-paying jobs. “We are working for the prosperity of all,” he said.
Blue Ridge Power, headquartered in Asheville, is a clean energy infrastructure construction company for solar projects across the United States. Cumberland County Schools, the fifth-largest public school system in North Carolina, serves over 50,000 students.
Fayetteville Technical Community College is the third-largest community college in North Carolina, serving over 28,000 students annually through a wide variety of online and face-to-face programs. FTCC students can quickly learn credentials needed for high-demand, high-paying jobs and for associate degrees, diplomas and certificates that can lead directly to employment or be used to transfer to a four-year institution.