Above: Hunter Corporation President and CEO Tom Hunter expressed his gratitude to Blue Ridge Community College for nominating Hunter Automotive Group for the 2021 Outstanding WIOA Henderson County Employer of the Year. He believes the College’s apprenticeship program makes a sizable impact by helping local youth find sustainable career opportunities.
Blue Ridge Community College recently nominated Hunter Automotive Group for the 2021 Outstanding WIOA Henderson County Employer of the Year, citing Hunter’s dedication to supporting workforce development and local apprenticeship opportunities.
Hunter Automotive Group has served the Hendersonville area for 75 years, and has cultivated a strong presence in the community. This is why it is one of numerous automotive businesses taking part in Blue Ridge’s apprenticeship program, Apprenticeship Blue Ridge.
Hunter Corporation President and CEO Tom Hunter (pictured) stated “We are immensely grateful to Blue Ridge Community College for nominating us, and to Mountain Area Workforce Development Board for awarding us this honor. We work every day to improve the quality of life for everyone, and the Automotive Apprenticeship program can make a huge impact by helping local youth find sustainable career opportunities in our industry.”
Hunter also praised his employees and added “I specifically credit team members Kirk Firmin, William Skinner, Tim Walters, and Renay Winston who collaborated to make the program possible.”
Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura Leatherwood praised Hunter Automotive for its strong communal ties.
“When our students work as apprentices at a business like Hunter Automotive Group, they’re being taught how to enter a local occupation by local professionals. You can’t get more ‘hands-on’ than that,” Leatherwood said.
The College offers four different apprenticeship pathways, including automotive, business and banking, manufacturing, and electrical. Hunter Automotive is one of the longtime automotive partners helping students earn while they learn.
Apprenticeship Blue Ridge is incredibly competitive, consisting of a six semester, 720-contact hour, 4,000-hour on-the-job training registered apprenticeship program. Apprentices attend class one day per week at the College, then work at their respective business the other four days, all while being paid for their time.
“Our apprentices receive free tuition, and there is a multitude of stackable credentials earned throughout the program,” stated Dr. Scott Queen, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Blue Ridge. “Hunter Automotive Group is an exceptional partner, which is why we’re so proud to nominate them for this award.”
Through Apprenticeship Blue Ridge’s partnership with Hunter Automotive, 24 recent high school graduates have started on an automotive career path over the past two years.
To learn more about Apprenticeship Blue Ridge and its relationship with other local employers, visit www.blueridge.edu/apprenticeships.