August 16, 2019

Midlands Youth Apprenticeship Program Holds Student Signing Day

In partnership with Midlands Technical College (MTC) and Apprenticeship Carolina, the Columbia Chamber is proud to announce the current class of Midlands Youth Apprenticeship Program (MYA). Signing day took place on August 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% (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,” continued Blackstone.

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.”

About Midlands Youth Apprenticeship Program

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 involved in MYA take normal high school classes and at the same time attend MTC two to three days a week in dual enrollment classes. Students will also have paid apprenticeships with participating area businesses. At the end of the two-year program, students will have earned a high school diploma, certification in a specific field from Midlands Technical College, credentialing from the U.S. Department of Labor and two years of paid work experience. This combination through MYA equips a student the skills and experience to make them ready on Day One to work in the specialized positions that companies require.

About the Columbia Chamber

The Columbia Chamber is a private, nonprofit, partner-driven organization comprised of 1,500 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals in Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry and Richland counties. The Columbia Chamber serves as the voice of its partners and the business community at large on matters of economic, educational, social, cultural and political concern, as well as supports and promotes the success of its partners through networking, professional development, advocacy and leadership. The organization has represented the interests of the local business community since 1902.

About Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College (MTC) is a non-profit, six-campus, two-year public college serving Richland, Lexington, and Fairfield counties in South Carolina. MTC enrolls approximately 15,000 credit students annually making it the fifth-largest provider of higher education in South Carolina and one of the largest providers of transfer students to the University of South Carolina. The Corporate and Continuing Education (CCE) program is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the Southeast, with approximately 15,000 students and provides training to hundreds of area businesses each year. For more information, visit

About Apprenticeship Carolina

Apprenticeship Carolina™ is an integral part of the SC Technical College System that works to ensure all employers in South Carolina have access to the information and technical assistance they need to create demand-driven registered apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship consultants are available to guide companies through the registered apprenticeship development process from initial information to full recognition in the National Registered Apprenticeship System. These services are available to South Carolina employers free of charge. Interested employers are encouraged to contact Apprenticeship Carolina™ at (803) 896-5287 or to visit Follow us on Twitter @ApprenticeshpSC or @Youth_AC.

Learn More About MYA

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