October 3, 2018

Wells Fargo Donates $50,000 to Midlands Youth Apprenticeship Program

The Columbia Chamber and Midlands Technical College (MTC) proudly announce the launch of Midlands Youth Apprenticeship (MYA). 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.

“Independent studies show that from 2014 to 2024, the Midlands healthcare and social assistance industry should see an increase of 8,510 jobs or a 20% increase in demand,” said Holt Chetwood, Midlands Market President, Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to invest in a program that looks at ways to equip a high school student with the skills and experience needed to establish a profitable career right after high school. The ability to make smart choices so early in a young person’s career will invariably create a sound foundation on which to build on their future,” continued Chetwood.
“We are proud to partner with the Columbia Chamber and our local business community on the Midlands Youth Apprenticeship program,” said Midlands Technical College President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames. “Starting students on a technical training path for specific careers while they are still in high school is the most innovative and effective solution for addressing the shortage of skilled workers in our state and our nation. We are excited to have the opportunity to make this program a reality for our region.”

Columbia Chamber Partner businesses participating in the initial year of the program are Palmetto Health, Nephron Pharmaceuticals and LTC Health Solutions. Current apprenticeship programs include training in sterile compounding, pharmacy support staff and nursing support assistant. The goal for MYA is to diversify to include additional industries and additional school districts as workforce trends dictate.

“Partners of the Chamber tell us that trade-based businesses are struggling to fill jobs with skilled workers,” said Carl Blackstone, Columbia Chamber President and CEO, “Developing a program with the right partners will address this skills gap and provide an attractive option for high school students. Wells

Fargo realizes the opportunity their donation makes in enabling those students to make smart choices while increasing the talent pipeline for area businesses,” continued Blackstone.

About the Columbia Chamber
The Columbia Chamber is a private, non-profit, 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

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