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Hockmeyer, others finding trained workers at COA

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Aaron Perry, a 2015 graduate of College of The Albemarle, works at Hockmeyer Equipment Corporation.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

College of The Albemarle and Hockmeyer Equipment Corporation have discovered a mutually beneficial relationship in which the community college meets training needs at the company while the business offers the college’s graduates a place to work.

More than a dozen COA graduates are currently working at Hockmeyer, and college officials say the company has hired seven students in the past three years from the computer integrated machining and welding programs. The firm is expected to hire several more this year.

Hockmeyer also has offered several work-based learning scholarships to machining and welding students, according to COA officials.

The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools also has developed a strong working relationship with Hockmeyer. The company has agreed to provide work-based learning opportunities for the schools’ advanced manufacting students.

Partly because of this school-business partnership, advanced manufacturing recently became the second career and technical education program in ECPPS to be certified as a career pathway by NCWorks.

Bob Brungard, president of Hockmeyer, has publicly acknowledged COA as providing highly skilled graduates to meet the company’s needs.

“Hockmeyer Equipment Corporation has been providing process solutions for over 70 years,” according to a statement on the company’s website. “It is a leader in the wet grinding and dispersion industry and offers custom designed process equipment for mixing, blending, dispersing and particle size reduction as fine as 25 nano-meters.”

One of those students to benefit from the COA-Hockmeyer connection is Tyler Scarborough, 20. Scarborough is working part-time at Hockmeyer now and plans to continue working there after he gradudates from the welding program at COA.

Scarborough entered the welding program at the community college after it was recommended by a guidance counselor at Northeastern High School.

“Really I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Scarborough said.

But when he gave welding a try he enjoyed it.

“I like hands-on stuff,” Scarborough said. “I didn’t want to sit in an office all day.”

Michael Jones and Michelle Tangredi graduated from COA two decades apart and both have found good jobs at Hockmeyer.

Jones, a 2017 COA graduate, “went back to school after having a knee replacement and being unable to go back to work in the field,” COA said in a press release. “He went back to school for a second career and after receiving his GED, he continued his studies at COA to become a machinist. Jones was recruited by Hockmeyer after graduation and now enjoys working with other COA graduates.”

Tangredi, who gradudated from COA in 1997, has worked several years in Hockmeyer’s business office, according to COA officials.

In general, COA officials cite strong regional employment opportunities in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia for graduates in many of the college’s career and technical education programs such as computer-aided drafting, aviation and machining.

Another local company, B & M Contractors, has also offered scholarships for COA students.

 

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