LUMBERTON – All businesses are invited to join Robeson Community College on June 29 to learn more about apprenticeships and establish an ApprenticeshipNC program with RCC.

Apprenticeship Coordinator Patrick Jacques and representatives from ApprenticeshipNC will be available to meet one-on-one with employers to answer questions and register businesses for the program.

“The apprenticeship program is an agreement between the college, the employer, and the State of North Carolina,” said Patrick Jacques, the apprenticeship coordinator at Robeson Community College. “It is anywhere from a 2 to 5-year program that usually aligns with a particular program that we teach at the college and the industry that is nearby.”

“We are trying to bring more and more apprenticeships in through our programs at the college,” Jacques said.

The General Assembly passed legislation in Section 6.14 of Senate Bill 105 to provide incentives to encourage more business-apprenticeship programs in the state.

Small businesses with less than 500 employees locally (number not based on corporate-wide scale) can receive up to $2,000 per eligible apprentice hired, and students who are registered as an apprentice can receive $2,500 towards tuition, books, fees, supplies, uniforms.

Companies must be located in a Tier I or Tier II County. Counties within a one-hour radius of Robeson Community College that qualify for these funds include Robeson, Columbus, Bladen, Scotland, Richmond, Cumberland, Sampson, Hoke, Duplin, Harnett, Lee, Anson, and Montgomery.

Apprentices must be hired for a high-demand careers sector and must be 16-25 years of age.

Funds must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and spent by Dec. 31, 2026.

In addition to the $2,000 incentive, employers will receive a 50% reimbursement for hourly wages, up to $15 per hour for non-high school apprentices and up to $14 per hour for high schoolers hired.

Jacques says that the apprenticeship program is a win-win-win for all parties involved.

“We win as a college, because we are getting students and we are getting them trained; the company wins because they get employees that they are able to bring in slowly and build them up and develop them into the ideal employee; and the student is going to gain because not only are they getting on-the-job training, they are getting the training at RCC, and they are getting free tuition too.”

Jacques adds that “87% of students who start the apprenticeship program in the State of NC, stay with the company once they complete the apprenticeship.”

Jacques further explained the benefits of choosing students from RCC to complete apprenticeships.

“The students that we have, we have a large number of them that are working already, and they really are excited about trying to work in their field, rather than just any job to get them through school, so they have that enthusiasm,” said Jacques. “You’ll get to bring in students, you’ll bring them in slowly, you’ll train them, you’ll have them exactly the way you want, so when they graduate, they can roll right into a full-time position and hit the ground running.”

Walk-ins are welcome for the June 29 event, but appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made by visiting RCC’s website at and clicking on the “Business Apprenticeship Day” icon.

Cheryl Hemric is Robeson Community College’s Public Information officer. She can be reached at [email protected].