Cheryl Thompson, An Apprenticeship Success Story
Founder and CEO
Center for Automotive Diversity,
Inclusion and Advancement
"I absolutely loved my apprenticeship because it opened me up to a whole new world! When I was given the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship program, I assumed I would be training to be an electrician or pipefitter. I was excited because I figured if I even was laid off, I’d be able to find work anywhere with the skills I would be learning.
As a single mother, up until I started my apprenticeship, I was working 5 different part-time jobs. Once I found out how much I would be making in my apprenticeship, I felt like I won the lottery! In addition to a good wage that would allow me to work 1 full-time job, I received a tool check to purchase my own tools, my trade school courses and books were paid for, and I received a check for the hours I spent in school. Once I completed my apprenticeship, I only had to take 6 more courses to complete my associate degree. Thanks to my employer’s tuition assistance program, I was able to continue my education to earn a bachelor’s degree and eventually my MBA from Michigan State University.
My advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship it – DO IT! It is something you will have forever – no one can take it away from you. While friends I went to high school with were paying off college debt, I was completely debt-free and making more than most people my age. It may be uncomfortable at first but stick it out – you will not regret it, and you never know where it will take you!"
Learn more about Cheryl's story and the benefits of apprenticeship programs in WiM's Registered Apprenticeship Program Best Practices Webinar on March 29!