The new apprentice program at SPCC begins on Jan. 4.

WADESBORO — South Piedmont Community College has partnered with Columbus McKinnon Corporation (CMCO) in Wadesboro to recruit 20 machining apprentices who will be full-time employees earning $17 an hour while they are being trained.

The partnership is an effort to address the skilled-labor shortages in North Carolina. South Piedmont is taking an employer-led approach to build talent pipelines aligned to business and industry needs by working with over 300 different companies — including the aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and heavy equipment industries.

South Piedmont’s newest partner, Columbus McKinnon, machines and assembles industrial cranes for a variety of top brands.

“We are fortunate to have a partnership with great trainers and educators from South Piedmont,” said HR Talent Advisor at Columbus McKinnon, Madeline Mullins, in a statement. “South Piedmont’s training facility is world class. The apprenticeship model developed to help with our talent challenges is absolutely phenomenal and will produce some of the best, well-educated machinists who will help us sustain and grow our operations in the future.”

Half of North Carolina’s employers need more skilled employees, according to the release.

“We see SPCC as the main talent supply channel for our businesses,” said Karla Shields, Associate Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at South Piedmont, in the release. “This is a great opportunity for students to be full-time employees with benefits while they are learning at South Piedmont.”

The year-long apprenticeship will begin on Jan. 4 at SPCC’s Monroe campus, and the first 8-week bootcamp will start on Jan. 10. Information sessions are underway and will be offered through December.