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CCC&TI Partners with Local Eye Care Physicians to offer First Ophthalmic Apprenticeships in the State

Published: 3/02/2024

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and professionals with Morganton Eye Physicians, Graystone Eye and Western Carolina Eye Associates have recently partnered together to offer new pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs for students interested in entering the field of ophthalmology. These agreements are the first of their kind in the state and offer local students the opportunity to get hands-on experience and training in the clinical setting.

Representatives from Morganton Eye Physicians and Graystone Eye met with CCC&TI administrators, instructors, and student apprentices to commemorate the agreement, which offers students the opportunity to receive on-the-job training and classroom instruction while also earning a wage and gaining experience in their chosen career field. Apprenticeships are designed to help students earn nationally recognized credentials while providing local employers with trained, qualified candidates for available jobs.

Registered or full apprenticeships are for students who have selected their career pathway and want to train in all aspects of the occupation as they work full- or part-time. Registered apprenticeships also provide a wage scale that increases based on experience and skills learned.

Ophthalmic Pre-Apprenticeships focus on high school students interested in eye care and exploring work with an eye physician. Pre-apprentices who start an apprenticeship during high school or within 120 days of graduation may qualify to continue their education at any NC community college tuition-free.

CCC&TI’s Apprenticeship Program is an employer-based iniative that helps workers learn specialized skills needed in today’s work environment, combining on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction. Students earn nationally recognized credentials, while employers develop a talented team and close the skills gap. While many people start apprenticeships immediately after graduating from high school, an apprenticeship program may also work well for veterans leaving active-duty military service, those looking to change careers, or people whose jobs are being replaced by technology. CCC&TI’s goal is to help connect and support employers and apprentices.

CCC&TI has a variety of apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers, as well as partnerships for local employers interested in hiring apprentices. The state also offers incentives for businesses who sign an apprentice through CCC&TI. For more information on apprenticeship opportunities visit: www.cccti.edu/apprentice

Apprentices at Graystone Eye

Pictured from left to right are CCC&TI OMP Program Director Faith Race, Instructor Allie Rivas, Clinical Coordinator Kristie Bailey, CCC&TI Apprentices Mariela Ayon-Limon, Jacey Braswell, Trista Fox, Emma Hullender, and Graystone Eye’s Chief Clinical Officer Mandy Cansler.

Apprentices at Morganton Eye

Pictured from left to right are Morganton Eye Physicians Business Manager Dennis W. Lee, CCC&TI OMP Program Director Faith Race, CCC&TI Apprentices Bailey Hardin, Hailey Gurley, Ashley Lopez-Agustin, Morganton Eye Assistant Business Manager Amanda Berry and CCC&TI Instructor Allie Rivas.