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“WakeWorks® has been the clearest, simplest path toward gainful employment.”
Donald Edney has worked a variety of jobs over the years as a telecom lineman and retail supervisor, but he’s finally found his passion thanks to WakeWorks® Apprenticeship.
Edney is one of the first WakeWorks® electrical apprentices gaining valuable on-the-job training while earning a paycheck at Pepsi Bottling Ventures in Garner – all while studying to become a licensed electrical contractor through Wake Tech.
"WakeWorks® has been the clearest, simplest path toward gainful employment," Edney says. "When I was hired by Pepsi Bottling Ventures, I tripled my income, and I’ve been able to bring my family’s situation above water. I’m investing in myself, and I’m working for an employer who’s investing in me – and that makes me feel more confident and secure and have pride in my job."
The WakeWorks® Apprenticeship program launched in February 2020, when Wake County committed to providing up to $500,000 per year to expand apprenticeship options in skilled trades and technician programs where demand is high.
Apprenticeship is a combination of working and learning that benefits both the apprentice and the employer. WakeWorks® funds help to pay tuition, fees and other expenses. Apprentices are awarded an official Journeyworker’s certificate upon completion of the program, signifying that they have mastered the skills in their field.
WakeWorks® Apprenticeship helps local industry meet staffing needs while also developing new talent. Apprentices learn skills from seasoned employees, creating a company culture that reduce turnover and fosters loyalty.
Byron Diggs, director of human resources for Pepsi Bottling Ventures, said his company is expanding its apprenticeship relationship with WakeWorks® and plans to hire more student apprentices in HVAC.
"WakeWorks® Apprenticeship is creating a new and exciting pipeline of talent and resources for the beverage industry," Diggs said. "Donald is an asset to Pepsi Bottling Ventures, and he truly represents the best of the apprenticeship program.
"The partnership between WakeWorks® and Pepsi Bottling Ventures benefits the apprentice and the industry," he added. "I highly recommend this program for employers who are willing to open their doors and venture into new opportunities for talent."
Edney recommends it for anyone ready for a exciting career in the skilled trades.
"This is the first job where I’ve been able to build a really close relationship with employer leadership and that has been an honor and a privilege," Edney says. "Because of that relationship, I am working on my own career growth, as well as helping shape what future apprenticeship opportunities look like."
Are you ready to become a WakeWorks® apprentice ... or a WakeWorks® Apprenticeship employer? Learn more at wakeworks.waketech.edu.
Do you have a Wake Tech success story? Share it here.