Although males are in the majority in this field, Brown says she doesn’t feel being female presents any job-related, gender-specific challenges.
“There is still a job that needs to be done,” she said, “and it is expected of me to be able to do the same job as someone else, male or female. There are already plenty of women that work at Timken, so I don’t feel as if I am treated any differently.
“My short-term goal is to excel in my classes and finish the apprenticeship program,” she added. “My long-term goal is to get as many degrees and certificates as possible that are relevant, of course. There would be absolutely no reason for me to stop after the apprenticeship program. The sky is the limit!”
Brown expressed her gratitude to Eddie Flowers, her Timken mentor; supervisor Doug Smith; Osbia; Jill Hendrix, who co-ordinates the apprenticeship program; Roger Eger, Timken’s Lincolnton plant manager; fellow Timken apprentices Don Laney, Brandon Lambert and Randy Craig; and her many friends at Timken and Gaston College.
Flowers, a senior process analyst, is impressed by the apprenticeship program.
“I love it,” he said. “I went through an apprenticeship 28 years ago, so I am a big advocate of the concept. Gaston College’s program is very exciting. The classrooms and technology labs in their center for advanced manufacturing give the apprentices and other students an excellent learning environment. We are fortunate to have this facility in our area.”
And another of the female apprentices is die-setter Harley Reynolds, 23, a five-year Keystone veteran. Jacobs met her on his first day at the company in February.
“She was setting up a 320-ton sizing press on a gear for Ford,” he recalled. “At this time, she was the only one training on these machines. Her trainer has 30 years of experience. I knew when I started at Keystone that I wanted to build an apprenticeship program with Gaston College. I had already done this with my previous company. Harley was the first to ask if she could be a part of this program, if I started one. She is the one female die-setter Cherryville has and the only one at Keystone. I am proud of Harley and feel she has a bright future.”
Reynolds attended North Gaston High for two years and Cherryville High for a year and a half. Graduation came a semester early for her. She’d like to continue her education after completing the apprenticeship program, and she hopes to become an engineer.
“For the time being,” she said, “my education goal would be to get all good grades. I would like to try to make it on the dean’s list, because my mom did when she attended Gaston College.”
Both Reynolds and Brown feel the Apprenticeship 321 program has been an excellent opportunity.
“It has been awesome, to say the least,” said Brown. “Timken and Gaston College have made sure that I have every resource that I need at my disposal to be successful. And more than that, they really do care about me as an individual. I am very glad I decided to join the program.”
Participants in the Apprenticeship 321 program receive job-specific training and a cost-free education from Gaston College, all whilst earning a salary from local employers.
For more information about the Apprenticeship 321 program, be sure to see the Website at www.gaston.edu. Or contact Hendrix by telephone or e-mail respectively at (704) 922-6521 or email@example.com.
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