Kevin Smith, operations Manager, welcomes apprentices, pre-apprentices and their families to Doosan Bobcat’s Statesville campus.


Jaron Wenzel has been working toward a hands-on career that isn’t boring since his day at North Iredell High School.

Now on track to graduate with an associate degree in mechatronics, the 23-year-old is thankful for the Iredell Apprenticeship program and his job at Doosan Bobcat in Statesville.

There, he has been able to “earn and learn” simultaneously for the past three and a half years.

“Just being able to work with machines, see the assembly lines, office side of things and the many different ways that products are tested has been a great experience for me,” Wenzel said.

He currently works in the Business Unit Supply Chain Lead Department (BUSCL). 

“The community here is awesome. Everyone is helpful. It can be challenging at times, but everyone wants you to succeed. Overall, it’s a great place. Everyone in the plant works together,” he said. “Once I get my degree, my goal is to be hired on here.”

According to Site Operation Manager Kevin Smith, the apprenticeship program is designed to help students like Wenzel pursue a career at Doosan by providing real-life experiences before graduation.

“We run them through every function and organization. We put them through an operations rotation from materials to logistics to engineering to fabrication to assembling and welding and much more. They get exposure to everything we do,” Smith explained.

After apprentices complete their associate degree at Mitchell Community College, which is paid for by the state, they can choose to do a 2+2 program with UNCC or another university to earn their bachelor’s degree.

Doosan offers an educational reimbursement for employees who want to pursue their bachelor’s degree, he explained.

Doosan Signing Day

During a special signing day event, Smith and Mark Willett, Doosan Strategic Operations Manager, welcomed nine apprentices and two pre-apprentice students and their families on May 22.

Doosan’s apprentices who graduated from high school and completed the pre-apprenticeship program are Isaac Mayberry, Caleb Henderson, Chance Caudill, Kollin Smith, Will Akers, Jaron Wenzel, Ian Smith, Evan Garmon and Dylan Robinette.

Doosan’s two pre-apprenticeship students are rising seniors Bray Trivette and Nicholas Redfearn.

Trivette said he jumped at the opportunity to work at Doosan this summer because he’s still deciding what he wants to do after high school. He’s interested in engineering, but said he hopes the pre-apprenticeship will help him decide.

“This is a great opportunity and hopefully will give him some direction,” said his mom Marna Trivette.

About the pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program

When high school students enroll in either the pre-apprenticeship or “adult apprenticeship” programs in high school, those students can qualify to receive college tuition waivers that cover both registration fees and tuition by the state.

Todd Williams, Iredell Statesville Schools Executive Director of Industry, Trade and Business Development, said that students must be between 16 and 18 years old to participate in the pre-apprenticeship program. Students receive valuable on-the-job experience and can “earn while they learn.”

“We are trying to show students that there are good jobs here in our county and lots of opportunities for advancement,” Williams explained.

Apprenticeships allow students to observe and participate in daily operations under the direct contact of a job supervisor, ask questions about careers and perform certain tasks.

Students also have the opportunity to be dually enrolled in College and Career Promise (CCP) courses in high school, which could advance the timeline for students to complete their two-year degree when they become an “adult apprentice.”


Pictured (from left) are re-apprentices Ray Trivette and Nicholas Redfearn.
Pictured (from left) are apprentices Evan Garmon, Dylan Robinette, Ian Smith and Will Akers.
Pictured (from left) are apprentices Isaac Mayberry, Jaron Wenzel, Kollin Smith and Chance Caudill.

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