Apprenticeship - Cleveland Community College, Shelby, NC

Apprenticeship Cleveland, Path to Success

When Maddox Brown was a senior at Kings Mountain High School he took some HVAC classes at Cleveland Community College to fill his schedule. What he found was a career he wanted to pursue. Apprenticeship Cleveland is providing him a path to success.

“The reason I like working in the HVAC industry is because the job changes every day. I use the same skills and knowledge but every day I am presented with a new problem or job that is completely different than the last one.”

Apprentice Maddox Brown stands beside his Shelby Heating & air truck.
Maddox Brown

By the time Brown graduated from high school he had completed an HVAC certificate tuition free thanks to the Career and College Promise (CCP) program. CCP allows high school juniors and seniors to take CCC’s classes tuition-free.

Because HVAC technicians are in demand, Brown was hired as a youth apprentice by Shelby Heating & Air before he graduated high school. Now, he is continuing his education tuition free and earning a living because he and his employer are participating in Apprenticeship Cleveland. “As someone who grew up in Shelby and attended Cleveland Community College, I was definitely on board to help with this apprentice program and have Maddox join our team,” said Josh Harrison, owner of Shelby Heating & Air. “I remember what it was like to be new to this industry and now the tables have turned. It feels good to be in a position to help someone like Maddox get started.”

While Brown starts his first career, Doug Womack is an apprentice moving into a new phase of his life. After serving 22 years in the Army, Womack joined the workforce at Greenheck Fan Corporation. While working, he began using his GI Bill benefits to take classes at CCC. The leadership at Greenheck saw Womack’s potential and chose him to be their first employee to go through the apprenticeship program.

Doug Womack, who is nearing completion of his apprenticeship, poses by the Greenheck company sign.
Doug Womack

A Greenheck representative stated that “Doug Womack has always been a valuable and strong employee at Greenheck. His existing knowledge, willingness to learn, and the traits obtained through his military background made Doug an ideal candidate to be the first Greenheck employee to go through the NC Apprenticeship Program.” 

Womack is nearing completion of his apprenticeship and will earn his journey worker credential in Millwright from the U.S. Department of Labor next year. He has already completed several certificates and a diploma in Industrial Systems Technology. “Having the opportunity to work with seasoned professionals on the job has helped me translate what I learned in the classroom to real world applications in my industry,” said Womack.

In addition, Womack said, “I have met instructors who guided me through the curriculum and continued to be there for me, willing to answer questions long after completing their classes. This has allowed me to develop professional relationships that I can use as a resource in the future.”

With an aging workforce in skilled trades, employers are having difficulty finding experienced plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and other critical workers. Apprenticeship Cleveland benefits employers by building a pipeline of trained employees, and provides workers a path to learn valuable skills while earning a good wage.

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