Apprenticeship: A Head Start on Life

Name: Logan Vincent
College: Rockingham Community College 
High School: Morehead High School, Class of 2018 
Hometown: Eden, North Carolina
Age: 20
Company: Machine Specialties, Inc. 
Job Role: Third-year apprentice, metal finishing department

Logan Vincent, a third-year apprentice with Machine Specialties, Inc., (MSI) in Whitsett, N.C., always planned to go to a community college and have a career that involved working with his hands. When he discovered he could earn his degree from Rockingham Community College (RCC) for free through the Rockingham Apprenticeship Technical Opportunities Partnership (RockATOP) program while working a hands-on job, he jumped at the opportunity. 

“I was never interested in the idea of a four-year university,” says Logan. “What I really enjoy is doing stuff with my hands. The apprenticeship program lined up with what I wanted to do and allowed me to start working.It’s a good way for me to earn money while earning my degree.”

How Apprenticeship Works

Logan started the four-year apprenticeship program the summer after he graduated from high school. He goes to school at RCC and works for MSI. “MSI does a good job adjusting our work schedule to line up with our school schedule,” he says.  

As an MSI employee, Logan earns a steady paycheck with benefits, including health insurance and a 401K. Through RockATOP, his RCC tuition, fees, and books are paid for. He’s able to earn an income while, at the same time, not incur any college costs. When Logan graduates from RCC in 2022, he’ll have an associate degree in manufacturing technology with zero debt, four years of experience working in his preferred career field, and a full-time job with MSI.

Is apprenticeship a good fit for you?

Learning by Doing

Like many apprentices, Logan learns best by doing. He’s applying what he’s learning at RCC to what he’s working on at MSI. “It helps me to have someone explain it while I’m able to see how it works or how it’s used,” he says.

“In my department, I’ve learned a lot of chemistry; I really enjoy it,” Logan continues. “We do a lot of anodizing and passivating the metal parts. It’s a way of changing the metal surface to where it’s more corrosion-resistant. A lot of the parts go on airplanes and satellites so we have to make sure they don’t corrode easily.”  

Getting Ahead 

Logan’s coworkers have been supportive, showing him the ropes and helping him be successful at MSI. “They’ve shown me how a big company operates, what I can expect, and how I need to act to do my job,” he says. 

“For me, the biggest advantage of the apprenticeship program has been the experience,” Logan shares.  “As an apprentice, you’re given a lot of responsibility. You have to act like an adult. I’ve matured. I’ve gotten better with money management.”

Logan recently got married and his financial goals include being able to support his family. The apprenticeship program is helping him achieve his career and educational goals without going into debt. “I’ve been able to get a head start on life,” he says. 

If you’re considering apprenticeship, Logan suggests identifying your goals and then finding the most beneficial way to get there. “If you have a good work ethic, are mechanically inclined, and pick up on things quickly, you’ll do well in the apprenticeship program,” he says.

Is Apprenticeship a Good Fit for You?

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