PTC Joins Lonza and Apprenticeship Carolina for Important Career Initiative
Piedmont Technical College (PTC) recently joined with Lonza and Apprenticeship Carolina™ on a proactive, multifaceted strategy to address the ongoing workplace need for maintenance technicians. As a result, newly registered apprenticeships at Lonza’s Greenwood facility provide a structured training program for critically important roles in maintenance, electronics, and a hybrid of mechanical and electrical disciplines.
“The leadership at Lonza’s facility in Greenwood recognizes that their success in the marketplace is strongly influenced by the quality of their workforce. For that reason, the company continues to explore new methods to recruit and retain highly skilled employees. Piedmont Technical College is in an ideal position to support these hiring initiatives,” said Alvie Coes, Dean of Engineering and Industrial Technology at PTC. “And Apprenticeship Carolina™ plays an essential role in facilitating the most effective apprenticeships.”
Lonza’s capsules and encapsulation technologies can be found all over the world in a wide variety of applications by pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies.
“When we launched this collaboration with Piedmont Technical College, we set out to create a win-win situation for the students and for Lonza. So far, we have been extremely successful across both dimensions,” said Travis Dover, Vice President for Operations at Lonza.
“With the ongoing workforce challenges we’re seeing in today’s economy, apprenticeships are a great way for companies in all industry sectors to grow and sustain a talent pipeline,” said Dr. Amy Firestone, Vice President of Apprenticeship Carolina™, a division of the SC Technical College System. “Lonza’s recently added programs are a prime example of how companies can create customized programs to empower employees with the specific skillsets that will enable them to excel.”
The collaboration is a forward-looking approach to recruiting employees specifically from PTC’s Mechatronics Program.
“Most of our Mechatronics students already have been recruited by companies when they are in the second year of the program, before graduation,” Coes said. “It’s important for companies to start working with students early if they want to make sure they can identify and recruit students who are the best fit for their organizations.”
Working with PTC Career Coordinator Trae Cary, Lonza has created an innovative work-based learning program that allows students in the Mechatronics Program to work part-time, six-hour shifts at the company while they are pursuing their studies.
“After working closely with Lonza’s HR department, we were quickly able to see that many more students would be able to engage with the company if we could structure shifts that were compatible with their studies,” said Cary. “So far, we’ve placed 13 students this way, and we expect to see this kind of model continue to expand with other companies in the region.”
PTC’s Career Coordinator position was created in partnership with The Greenwood Promise. Cary works with the college’s student employment services office and the Promise Executive Director to ensure Promise-eligible students have the opportunity to participate in work-based learning and to ensure that students are connected with employment opportunities after graduation — with a focus on Greenwood County employers.
“We have been working closely with Lonza for decades,” said PTC President Dr. Hope E. Rivers. “These new developments deepen that partnership, and they will ensure that Lonza has the tools it needs to grow its workforce now and into the future.”
• Senior officials formalize their multifaced agreement in a signing ceremony at Lonza. From left, Lonza Production Manager Anna Marie McCarty, PTC President Dr. Hope Rivers, Apprenticeship Carolina™ Grant Administrator Chip Fallaw, Lonza VP for Operations Travis Dover, Lonza Head of HR Debbie Walling, and PTC Career Coordinator Trae Cary.
• Lonza Vice President for Operations Travis Dover and PTC President Dr. Hope E. Rivers greet stakeholders before a brief tour at Lonza.
• Officials and participants in the apprentice initiative pause for a photo on the Lonza campus (with PTC administration building visible just across the street).
• Dr. Hope E. Rivers, president of Piedmont Technical College