AIKEN WORKS critical to workforce development
Dunkin’ Donuts of Aiken will have six students apprentice at its stores in 2018. Pictured from left to right are Whiskey Road store manager Carrie Hatfield, Dunkin’ Donuts of Aiken franchisee Charlie Hartz, North Augusta store manager Tomecca Jackson, Aiken Works Coordinator LaFayette A. Stewart, Jr., and Richland Avenue store manager Leesha Johnson.
Timely, dedicated, efficient, and creative employees are essential to prosperous businesses and organizations. On-the-job experiences are ideal to ensuring that youth gain professional skills and work-related competencies that prepare them to successfully fill the future workforce needs of the Aiken community.
“The issue of workforce development cannot be solely addressed by the school district,” said Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. “It is an issue that we must face together as a community. The economic repercussions of not doing so will affect every home and every business in the county.”
AIKEN WORKS is an Aiken County collaborative that teams up with local businesses to prepare students for the workforce through authentic hands-on experiences. The initiative will allow Aiken County’s students to develop employable skill sets, while building a highly capable future workforce for our community.
“The Aiken Chamber encourages all businesses and organizations to consider the positive impact on the area’s future workforce needs as well as the positive impact on the lives of the students if all its members partnered with AIKEN WORKS,” said Chamber Chair Charlie Hartz, Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee. “Dunkin’ Donuts is excited to partner with Aiken Works to offer six apprenticeship opportunities to Aiken County students in the coming year.”
With 50% of Aiken County’s workers eligible to retire in the next five years, the need to train Aiken’s youth in the critical needs areas of cyber tech, energy, health sciences and industrial manufacturing are the focus of AIKEN WORKS. However, opportunities can be found in all fields and each program is tailored to best fit the employer and the student.
“Our community is rich in resources and is filled with businesses, organizations and people who are willing to step forward and assist in answering the community’s call to provide a new generation of highly qualified and skilled workers,” said Aiken County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford.
Four specific learning opportunities are defined through AIKEN WORKS:
- Apprenticeships (businesses receive a $1,000 tax credit for each registered apprentice)
- Cooperative Education
- Job Shadowing and Structured Field Study
Information on each can be found at aikenworks.org or by contacting Aiken County Public Schools lead coordinator for Aiken Works LaFayette Stewart at email@example.com or by calling (803) 439-3847.
The following businesses/organizations are partnering with AIKEN WORKS:
- Autoneum/Gregory Electric
- Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS)
- Dunkin' Donuts: North Augusta, Aiken, Aiken Regional Medical Centers
- Aiken Chamber of Commerce
- Aiken County Public Schools-Communications, Technology, Printing, Maintenance Departments
- Aiken Electric Cooperative
- Aiken Regional Medical Centers
- Alison South Marketing Group
- City of Aiken
- E2 Promise (United Way)
- Sports Medicine at Silver Bluff, Midland Valley and North Augusta High Schools
- Security Federal Bank
- Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC
- Savannah River Remediation, LLC
- Aiken County Public Schools – HVAC Department
- ASCO Valves
- Automotive businesses throughout the CSRA
- Automatic Switch
- Cold Creek Nursery
- Custom Machine in NA
- Hair and Nail Salons throughout the CSRA
- Southeastern Tool
Job Shadowing and Structured Field Study
- Aiken Veterinary Clinic
- Automotive Work Bench
- Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
- Fire Departments (Aiken, Couchton, Graniteville, Langley, Midland Valley, Montmorenci, and North Augusta)
- Floyd & Green Jewelers
- Jarrett Rifles
- Meybohm, REALTORS ®
- CB&I AREVA MOX Services, LLC
- Savannah River Site
- Southeastern Felt
- TTX Company
- Woodside Country Club