Mississippi Apprenticeship Program and Winston Plywood and Veneer Launch New Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative during National Apprenticeship Week


Partnership with Louisville High School and East Central Community College Will Provide On-The-Job Training, Highlight Value of Advanced Manufacturing Careers

The Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP) housed at the Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB) joined Winston Plywood and Veneer (WP&V) during National Apprenticeship Week 2019 at Winston-Louisville Career & Technical Center to announce a unique new pre-apprenticeship initiative that will provide high school students with work opportunities while exposing them to the many benefits of a career in advanced manufacturing.  The students, who will receive on-the-job training at WP&V’s facility in Louisville, will also receive in-class instruction at East Central Community College (ECCC).   The classroom work at ECCC will include critical safety training and soft skills development at no cost to the students.

The program was developed and advanced by Winston Plywood & Veneer with the strong support and engagement from state officials, ECCC, Winston County School Superintendent Dr. Randy Grierson, High School Principal Hilute Hudson, and Louisville Mayor Will Hill.

“ECCC and LHS have a long-standing partnership in meeting the educational and training needs of Winston County,” said Dr. Billy Stewart, president of ECCC. “The Workforce Development Division at ECCC has also worked with WPV since the start-up of the plant. We appreciate Dr. Randy Grierson and Ms. Chasta Rauccio for their leadership of this exciting opportunity for LHS seniors, and we look forward to providing the non-credit training and support for students in the program.”

“This program will not only create a unique new pathway for us at Winston Plywood to recruit and develop outstanding new team members for Winston Plywood, but help inspire many young people to pursue a career in manufacturing,” said Chasta Rauccio, vice president of human resources, safety, and training for WPV. “There is enormous potential in the Winston County workforce, and this program will help us tap into that potential.   We are grateful for the support of all those who are making this initiative a reality,” Rauccio added.

“Apprenticeship programs are a proven workforce development strategy that is helping Mississippi industries fill critical needs for highly-skilled employees,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, executive director of MCCB. “WP&V has joined a network of businesses and community colleges across the state that offers apprenticeship programs in in-demand fields and helps more Mississippians find rewarding careers. We are excited to have WP&V as a partner in this work.”

WP&V’s program will serve six to nine students from Louisville High School each year.  It strengthens an already strong bond between the company, the school district, and the students of Louisville High School. Three years ago, Winston Plywood provided a $35,000 grant to bring Project Lead The Way’s premier STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) instruction to students at the high school.  It has since renewed the grant, allowing the school to continue to offer the curriculum and inspire more students to love the subjects critical to tomorrow’s jobs.

“This is an opportunity for our company to give back to the Winston County community and give students access to meaningful employment so they will want to make Louisville their home as adults. Through this program, we are not only helping students. We are also contributing to building a thriving local and state economy,” said Bruce Warren, president and CEO of WPV.

“We live in an educational world that is constantly changing, and it’s vital that we look at exploring ‘every’ option for students so that we can meet the needs of ALL students, not just those going to college. We have the opportunity to bridge the gap between school and the workplace, which is a game-changer in the lives of many of our students. So, it’s our duty and responsibility to look at equity for all students when we make educational decisions that impact children’s lives,” said Dr. Grierson.

The program’s launch coincides with National Apprenticeship Week – a nationwide celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor to bring together leading business, labor, education, and other critical partners to showcase the impact apprenticeship programs have on closing the skills gap for the American workforce.  Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant proclaimed November 11 – 17 as National Apprenticeship Week in Mississippi.

For more information about apprenticeship programs or for information about how you can start a program at your company, visit www.msapprenticeship.works.


About the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program
The Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP) is a comprehensive initiative to expand Registered Apprenticeship programs and transform workforce development in the state. Developed through a collaboration between the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES), the Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB), and the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), MAP strengthens economic competitiveness for businesses and makes good-paying jobs more accessible for the people in Mississippi.

About the Mississippi Community College Board

The mission of the Mississippi Community College Board is to advance the community college system through coordination, support, leadership, and advocacy.

About Winston Plywood & Veneer

Winston Plywood & Veneer’s over 400 dedicated associates operate its plywood mill in Louisville, Mississippi. The company can be found on the web at www.winstonplywood.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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