Daniel Pinnix-Guevara, a graduate of Rockingham County High School, was not naive enough to think getting a job would always be easy. Having already been laid off from a part-time job, he wanted to give himself the best chance at securing a permanent position after high school.
“I was looking into the Army Reserves or considering going into the construction field like my father,” he explained.
One day, during an assembly at his high school, Daniel heard about apprenticeship positions available through the Rockingham Apprenticeship and Technical Opportunities Partnership.
“When I first learned about it, I thought…that could be a guaranteed job after high school,” Daniel recalled.
He remembers his high school software teacher, Mrs. Nina Walls, giving him “pep talks” about the benefits of apprenticeship — free college education, meaningful work experience, and a solid career path. It seemed like a no brainer, but getting in was challenging.
“Once I got in, it was easy — the program took care of everything,” he said.
From being matched with a company to scheduling his college classes, Daniel was supported by dedicated advisors committed to his success. His position with Smith-Carolina has opened doors he never before considered. A pre-cast concrete company that does a great deal of work for the state, Daniel is learning new skills and getting multiple certifications to make himself more marketable.
“Currently, I’m working in the yard, running forklifts and organizing products that come out of the plant, as well as loading them onto the truck for shipping.”
Daniel has also been trained to run the concrete mixer and is awaiting certification. His next step is to take the field technician exam in August, which is all about quality control.
“My main goal is to get as many certifications as I can.”
These certifications allow him to go anywhere in the state that pours concrete for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. As for right now, he’s thankful to be working close to home.
“I wanted to work close to home rather than traveling to Greensboro,” he explained. “I wasn’t aware that these opportunities and companies that offer career paths were around me.”
After the apprenticeship program, some students pursue further college education and some continue working. Daniel plans to do the latter, building his career at Smith-Carolina.
To students in a position like him, Daniel says apprenticeship is the best path forward.
“If this is along the lines of something you want to pursue, you absolutely need to do it.”
Interested in learning a skilled trade while receiving free education? Find out more about the opportunities available for high school students and recent graduates through the RockATOP program or apply today.