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May 27, 2024 9:37 am

Wayne Community College apprentices recognized for program completion

GOLDSBORO – Two cohorts of Wayne Community College’s apprentices with Smithfield Foods and Flowers Foods were honored for reaching the journeyman level in their trade at a special recognition ceremony.

Maintenance technician and farm leadership apprentices received graduation cords from ApprenticeshipNC and the United States Department of Labor and stoles to wear during the commencement ceremony from Apprenticeship Wayne.

“Your journey through the apprenticeship program has been marked with countless hours of learning. You’ve embraced new opportunities, and you’ve demonstrated a thirst for knowledge that is truly commendable,” WCC President Patty Pfeiffer told the apprentices. “The world awaits your unique talents, your perspectives and your contributions.”

Through Apprenticeship Wayne, apprentices received on-the-job training while attending school to earn an associate in applied science degree in either Industrial Systems Technology or Swine Management Technology, as well as a journeyman certificate from ApprenticeshipNC and the United States Department of Labor.

WCC’s apprenticeship program began in 2019 with Smithfield Foods, and this is the employer’s second cohort of graduates from the College. This is the first cohort of Flowers Foods apprentices to graduate since their partnership with WCC started in 2021.

“It is amazing to see you all reap the rewards of your hard work and dedication,” Flowers Foods Human Resources Business Partner Charles Brogden said to the apprentices. “You had to balance home life, work, and school. When you look back years from now, you will see that these few years were minor sacrifices to propel you closer to your goals.”

Smithfield Foods Talent Development Specialist Clarence Scott encouraged the apprentices to remember that successfully completing the program is proof that they can overcome any challenge. “Take the time to relish your accomplishments because this is something that nobody gave to you; this is something that you earned. Be proud of that,” he said.

The 11 apprentices and their occupations, listed by city of residence, are:

Carrollton, VA
Kendall Draughn, Smithfield Foods Farm Leadership (Hog Production)

Jaime Amaya, Smithfield Foods Maintenance Technician

Tarina Ciotti, Smithfield Foods Farm Leadership (Hog Production)

Luis Bartolon, Flowers Foods Maintenance Technician

La Grange
Devin McEntire, Smithfield Foods Maintenance Technician

Rachel Brigman, Smithfield Foods Farm Leadership (Hog Production)

Brandon Jacobs, Smithfield Foods Maintenance Technician

Matt Corbett, Flowers Foods Maintenance Technician

Saint Pauls
Tyler Schantz, Smithfield Foods Maintenance Technician
Fredy Vallejo, Smithfield Foods Farm Leadership (Hog Production)

Suffolk, VA
Calvin Coleman, Smithfield Foods Maintenance Technician

Apprentice Tyler Schantz spoke at the ceremony about the balance the apprentices had to find with work, school, and personal life. “We were able to put all that together, and here we are at the end of it,” he said. “I want to thank all the teachers and the support that we’ve had. We weren’t able to do it without them.”

WCC Executive Director of Apprenticeships and Career Development Kristie Sauls commended the apprentices for their accomplishments over the last few years. “No matter where life takes you, never stop learning. When you see someone struggling to figure out their life, share your story with them,” she encouraged. “Be proud of your story.”

For more information on Apprenticeship Wayne, visit their website or contact Sauls at or 919-739-7063.