Smithfield launched the apprenticeship programme at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and plans to expand the initiative nationwide by partnering with colleges near Smithfield facilities. The programme is designed to represent Smithfield’s continued commitment to recruiting top talent and providing fulfilling careers for its employees.
The programme aims to provide internal candidates, high school graduates, and military veterans with hands-on engineering and mechanic training while earning their associate degree. Participants receive free college tuition, salary, and benefits as they progress through the programme.
“The workforce is changing rapidly, and we understand the importance of preparing the next generation of manufacturing professionals with an adaptable and diverse skillset," said Lisa Swaney, chief human resources officer for Smithfield Foods. “Our new apprenticeship program provides a unique opportunity for emerging talent to develop a strong understanding of the field and, ultimately, a long and prosperous career with Smithfield.”
The right skills
“With increasing automatisation, both physical and digital, it is more critical than ever to have a workforce with the right skills,” said Howard Anderson, chief engineer for Smithfield Foods. “This apprenticeship program will be a key source of new talent for our organisation.”
Apprentices will train alongside experienced technicians at Smithfield’s facilities in Clinton, Kinston, and Wilson, North Carolina. In addition to Wayne Community College, Smithfield also partnered with NCWorks, a resource for job seekers and employers in North Carolina, and ApprenticeshipNC, a platform that enables businesses to create flexible and effective training and hiring solutions.
“This program is a great example of how industry and education, when working together, develop a workforce,” said Craig Foucht, executive director of Wayne Business and Industry Center for Wayne Community College. “Through this apprenticeship program, individuals will learn theory in the classroom and practical application on the job. This is one of the best models for learning and will help develop a pipeline of qualified individuals for our partner.”