Return to Headlines

Richland One Establishes State’s First Certified Pre-Apprenticeship Program


Richland One and Apprenticeship Carolina announced that the district has established the state's first certified pre-apprenticeship program. This pre-apprenticeship program prepares students to enter and succeed in a registered apprenticeship program.

These programs integrate an approved training curriculum based on industry standards, educational and pre-vocational services, hands-on training through a simulated lab experience or volunteer opportunities, and assistance in applying to apprenticeship programs.

Local Columbia-area employers with existing registered apprenticeship programs recognize the value in Richland One's pre-apprenticeship initiative. They have committed to tapping into this candidate pool of talented and skilled students for recruiting. Richland One currently has 21 pre-apprenticeship students and anticipates this number growing over the next several months.

Richland One currently offers pre-apprenticeship programs in the following areas: transportation, distribution and logistics; health science; automotive technology, diesel mechanics and CDL (commercial driver’s license); business, finance and marketing; hospitality and culinary; agriculture and natural resources; engineering; media technology; information technology; and construction and manufacturing. Richland One strategically aligned the job-related education and hands-on training with the Department of Education's state-approved career clusters.

“This forward-thinking approach to skills development will provide unprecedented opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Craig Witherspoon, superintendent for Richland One School District. “We are excited to be the first school district in the state to provide this innovative direction forward for our students. They will learn in-demand skills and be provided a clear pathway to meeting both their educational and career goals."

Xavier Clinton, a senior at Eau Claire High School, is eagerly taking advantage of this opportunity with a pre-apprenticeship in the CDL program. “The pre-apprenticeship program shows me all the options I have available and is giving me real-world experience," he said. "My future plan is to be a police officer or a firefighter. I'm learning skills now that are going to make me ready for the next step in life. Participating in this pre-apprenticeship program has opened doors for me that are going to help me in the future."

“A pre-apprenticeship program provides a wonderful opportunity to build a workforce pipeline with talented young people ready to learn," said Dr. Tim Hardee, president of the South Carolina Technical College System. “Apprenticeship Carolina and the technical colleges across our state are committed to building South Carolina’s skilled workforce with partnerships like this with Richland One.”