In partnership with Midlands Technical College (MTC) and Apprenticeship Carolina, the Columbia Chamber has announced the current class of Midlands Youth Apprenticeship Program (MYA). Signing day took place August 14 at Richland Two Institute of Innovations (R2i2).

MYA is a program designed to help create a talent pipeline for area businesses while creating a viable work place path for students after high school. Students from Richland County School District Two applied for the program through MTC and were selected through an interview process with participating Chamber Partner businesses for specified apprenticeship program.

“Finding a skilled workforce is a challenge for certain industry sectors. From 2014 to 2024, the Midlands health care and social assistance industry should see an increase of 8,510 jobs, or 20.72 percent (from 41,075 to 49,585),” said Carl Blackstone, President and CEO of the Columbia Chamber. “Businesses have expressed a need for skilled workers and the MYA program fulfills that and equips a high school student with a job that can provide a solid and stable foundation upon which to build a prosperous life.”

MYA 2021 Class Participants and Companies:

Nephron Pharmaceuticals:

Shekinah Sanders, Westwood High School

Briana Story, Spring Valley High School

Michael Evers, Blythewood High School

PRISMA Health:

Casey Ann Fowler, Blythewood High School

Madison Grindstaff, Westwood High School

Elizabeth Munteanu, Spring Valley High School

Tierra Simmons, Spring Valley High School

“More companies are struggling to the find skilled workers they need to grow, and they are looking for alternative ways to recruit for these high-demand positions,” said MTC President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames. “Businesses like Nephron and Prisma Health have found a solution by identifying and investing in higher education for high school students. I commend these companies and encourage other businesses to follow their example. By capitalizing on the abilities of young people, companies across the Midlands can develop the talent to fill their most critical positions for years to come.”

“South Carolina has one of the fastest growing apprenticeship programs in the nation and Apprenticeship Carolina has played a key role in this phenomenal growth,” said Amy Firestone, vice president of Apprenticeship Carolina, a division of the SC Technical College System. “We made a conscious decision to break down the traditional barriers to apprenticeship and continue to work with our stakeholders across the state to enhance and expand the use of apprenticeship as a workforce development tool. Partnerships like the Midlands Youth Apprenticeship Program are a wonderful example of redefining a centuries old concept and making it something that has real value for business and industry.”