• Apprentice Name: Abby Goss
  • High School: Trinity High School
  • Home Town: Trinity, NC
  • Grade Level: 12
  • Company Name: Phoenix Precision Machining
  • Role: 
  • Start Date: June 2019

Abby Goss has always been a hands-on learner. After high school, she planned to make her dream of studying Mechanical Engineering at N.C. State University a reality. However, she knew she’d need more than classroom education — she would need real-world experience to be successful in the field.

During Abby’s sophomore year, she heard about an apprenticeship opportunity, first at school and again through Facebook and TV ads. The phrases “free education” and “hands-on training” piqued her interest. Little did she know, there were many opportunities right in her hometown for experiential learning.

“I wasn’t aware of many of the work possibilities in Randolph County. It was educational just to see how my hometown plays a part in some of these industries.”

Abby said it definitely instilled some hometown pride to learn about the companies in her community training the next generation of machinists and engineers.

After applying for the apprenticeship program, she was matched with Phoenix Precision Machining in Trinity, N.C. As a pre-apprentice, Abby has learned the ropes of the business in preparation for her formal apprenticeship, which began in August 2019.

In her new role Abby will get to explore all aspects of machining. Most notably, she’ll get to run her own computer numerical control (CNC) mill, using cutting-edge technology to produce complex parts with precision. 

“I have always believed that if you get the experience early you can start to learn the full capabilities of the machine.”

This will put her leaps and bounds ahead of her peers in college, and provide a leg up when it comes to career preparation.

In addition to CNC milling, Abby will get to work in numerous areas of the business: shipping, handling, maintenance, and more. Her experience at Phoenix Precision Machining can also be transferred to her chosen college as course credit.

When asked why she chose apprenticeship, Abby had a simple answer: getting hands-on learning alongside great people and avoiding the debt that cripples many of today’s students.

“From my first tour at Phoenix Precision Machining, there have always been employees and company leaders willing to help and answer any questions I had.”

Abby also credits Andy Hines, Career Development Coordinator at Trinity High School, along with Stacey Miller from Randolph Community College and Nancy Cross, Director of Career and Technical Education with the Randolph County School System, with her ability to secure an apprenticeship and transition successfully into the program.

When Abby started high school, she probably didn’t picture herself preparing for an engineering career, earning college credit, and working in an advanced machine shop all before graduation. Discovering apprenticeship altered her course in a way that will pay off for a lifetime. 

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