Just three years out of high school, Piedmont Tech graduate Travisia Thompson may be earning upwards of $60,000 a year.
Let that sink in for a moment.
A proactive maintenance apprentice program among partners Piedmont Technical College (PTC), Laurens County Development Corporation (LCDC), Laurens County School Districts 55 and 56, and ZF Transmissions in Gray Court is making this seemingly pie-in-the-sky opportunity available to qualified Laurens County high school students.
That’s right. HIGH SCHOOL.
This virtually unheard-of earning potential is quite literally possible.
Accordingly, Thompson started her education at PTC as a dual enrollment student while still in high school and graduated in December 2017 with a degree in mechatronics technology. She is currently working to complete the maintenance apprenticeship program she began at ZF, where she has made quite an impression.
“Travisia is just fantastic. I wish I had 10 more just like her. For whatever reason, this is a male-dominated field. She is the only female I have in the program,” said Robbie Ellis, apprenticeship supervisor at ZF. “Travisia steps up and volunteers for things. She is definitely a leader. She is very intelligent and doesn’t mind taking charge.”
ZF has made an impression on Thompson as well.
“They have great opportunities here, and you always have the opportunity to excel and level up,” Thompson said. “I have built a foundation here at ZF Transmissions. I look forward to staying on here.”
“It’s hard work, and it’s a factory, but it’s not as it seems,” Thompson added. “ZF is actually a clean environment. It’s a great environment. … I get the same respect as guys. Just because I am a lady, they don’t treat me any different. I want to be treated just like everybody else.”
Ultimately, an individual apprentice’s experience and success say it all.
“I am able to get on-the-job training and gain knowledge before beginning my career. That’s the best part. And I have people mentoring me and guiding me along the way,” Thompson said. “I highly recommend it to anyone coming out of high school. I graduated college with no tuition debt. ZF took care of everything.”