Piedmont Tech Partners with Scotts for Apprenticeship

Piedmont Technical College has partnered with Scotts Miracle Gro to offer apprenticeship opportunities for students in the horticulture technology and diversified agriculture programs.

“This is a great arrangement for Scotts and our students,” said Hugh Bland, diversified agriculture program coordinator. “The company will have representatives who not only can work just part of the year, but who will have the knowledge to answer customer questions.”

Most of Scotts Miracle Gro’s sales representatives begin as part-time seasonal positions before moving to full time. But training has always been a challenge.

 “Many of the concepts they want to teach their employees are covered in the horticulture and agriculture curriculum,” said Josh Murdock, horticulture program director. “The idea was developed that Scotts Miracle Gro will hire students for an internship as merchandisers or customer representatives at larger home improvement retailers to experience that aspect of the agriculture field.”

When instructor Kathryn White invited Scotts Miracle Gro representative Keith Doerflein to speak to the horticulture and agriculture students on career opportunities, the solution presented itself that would help everyone.

“Miracle Gro has specific things their employees need to be trained to do,” said Rusty Denning, associate vice president for Continuing Education and Economic Development. “The problem they had was they didn’t have a means of training them.”

“Scotts was able to see the value and the educational level of our curriculum,” said Murdock. “They saw they value of teaming up with our program.”

The apprenticeship was coordinated with Apprenticeship Carolina, a division of the SC Technical College System that works to ensure all employers in South Carolina have access to the information and technical assistance they need to create demand-driven registered apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship consultants are available to guide companies through the registered apprenticeship development process from initial information to full recognition in the National Registered Apprenticeship System. These services are available to South Carolina employers free of charge. Interested employers can contact Apprenticeship Carolina at (803) 896-5287.

For more information on the horticulture program, contact Murdock at (864) 941-8671 or e-mail at murdock.j@ptc.edu. For information on the diversified agriculture program, contact Bland at (864) 445-3144 ext. 3104 or bland.h@ptc.edu.