A Manufacturer’s Apprentice: Gator signs to IFA Rotorion

  • Thursday, July 10, 2014

Photo Provided From left: IFA Rotorion Human Resources Manager Debbie Meuli, Goose Creek High student Coleman Padgett and IFA Rotorion Employee Development Supervisor Joe Brinson.


A Goose Creek High student has signed with a local manufacturer as part of the Lowcountry’s inaugural Youth Apprenticeship Program.

Coleman Padgett is one of 11 juniors and seniors from six Lowcountry high schools — and the only from Berkeley County — to become apprentices through the program.

Padgett joins three other students from Stall and West Ashley high schools to apprentice for IFA Rotorion of Ladson. The North America division is a direct supplier of propshafts for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

Local manufacturers, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, high schools in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, and Trident Technical College created the European-style apprenticeship program to grow the next generation of highly skilled workers for the resurgent manufacturing sector.

The students will work as paid industrial mechanic apprentices at Bosch, Detyens Shipyards, Hubner Manufacturing, IFA Rotorion and VTL Group starting this August.

Students will take high school classes in the morning and TTC industrial mechanics courses for dual credit in the afternoon twice a week. They will also receive paid on-the-job training through mentored employment throughout the year.

To ensure that all of the students who applied had an equal opportunity to participate in the program, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce offered to provide scholarships for every apprentice student. The scholarships will cover the entire cost of tuition and books.

By the time the students complete their two-year apprenticeships, they will have earned a high school diploma, an Industrial Mechanics certificate from Trident Tech, a journeyman credential from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, and two years of paid work experience.

Trident Tech plans to expand the manufacturing apprenticeship program next year and add new apprenticeships in other sectors. The college is already working on new youth apprenticeship programs in machining and information technology. The college says it can create apprenticeships in any sector where there is a need.

Companies interested in creating apprenticeships should contact Mitchell Harp, Trident Tech’s director of apprenticeships, at 843-574-6979. Students interested in participating as an apprentice for the 2015-2016 school year should contact Melissa Stowasser, Trident Tech’s director of high school programs, at 843-574-6312.

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