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NCTAP Program Working to Prepare Triangle Students for Modern Careers

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and the NC Chamber Foundation is celebrating with another update in our ongoing #WorkReadyWednesday series. This week, we’re showcasing the NCTAP program, one of the many innovative collaborations between education and industry that is helping lay the groundwork to close the skills gap here in North Carolina. Despite recent gains to align our state’s education and talent development priorities, many North Carolina job creators continue to struggle to find the sophisticated talent they need to fill modern jobs; these are the factors in play when we talk about the dreaded “skills gap.”

Fortunately, these are precisely the factors programs like NCTAP have been created to address. This Triangle-based apprenticeship program was formed to increase the number of local students prepared to enter the cutting-edge, high-tech manufacturing workforce. And through a core training program that utilizes a hands-on approach to develop technical, methodological and social skills across a wide range of disciplines, NCTAP is already making a great deal of progress toward that goal. Starting in the 11th grade, participants in NCTAP enter a 4-year, module-driven program that allows them to pursue an Associate’s Degree (AAS) in Mechanical Engineering Technology (through Wake Tech Community College), or one in Mechatronoics Engineering Technology (through Vance-Granville Community College), while also receiving paid, on-the-job training from participating Triangle employers.

NCTAP is proud to be associated with Apprenticeship 2000, a highly successful apprenticeship program based in the Charlotte area which we highlighted in an earlier #WorkReadyWednesday update. It’s also affiliated with the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Apprenticeship & Training Bureau. Like those participants in the Apprenticeship 2000 program, NCTAP apprentices can earn a Journeyman’s Certificate from the N.C. Department of Commerce – an important certification valid in all 50 states – in addition to their degrees. More importantly, they earn money while being trained for their future careers, graduate not just debt-free but with savings in the bank, move straight into fully compensated, high-benefit positions after graduation, and gain the confidence they need for meaningful, lifelong careers in their chosen fields.

The NC Chamber and NC Chamber Foundation are proud to support innovative programs like NCTAP as we continue to work with state leaders to begin shrinking our skills gap. In honor of National Apprenticeship Week, we will be hosting an apprenticeship learning event at our office tomorrow, and representatives from Buhler Aeroglide, one of the NC Chamber members participating in NCTAP, will be on hand to help foster a discussion on the benefits of actively supporting such work-based training experiences. If you have not signed up to attend this event, however, don’t worry – you’ll still have plenty of chances to learn more. In the coming months, we plan to host a number of apprenticeship information sessions in communities across the state in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Commerce. As we continue to highlight other successful programs like NCTAP in our ongoing #WorkReadyWednesday series, we will update you with the details on these opportunities as they emerge.

For more information on the NC Chamber Foundation’s efforts to drive collaborative solutions to close North Carolina’s skills gap, or to find out more about future apprenticeship learning opportunities, contact Cassi Zumbiel at

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber