Smithfield Foods, Inc. has announced that ApprenticeshipNC, a state apprenticeship agency of the NC Community College System, has named Smithfield its 2021 Outstanding Registered Apprenticeship Employer for the company's innovative maintenance technician apprenticeship program with Wayne Community College (WCC) in Goldsboro, NC.

The award annually recognizes a North Carolina employer with an inventive, effective workforce development system supporting workers, businesses and local economies. Smithfield was announced as the award recipient during ApprenticeshipNC's virtual annual conference April 27-28.

Smithfield's maintenance technician apprenticeship programs entail three years of classroom learning and an additional year of hands-on training with experienced technicians at local Smithfield facilities. Student apprentices receive free college tuition, an associate degree, state and federal journeyman's certifications and full-time salary and benefits as they progress through the program.

“Developing meaningful career opportunities for the next generation of manufacturing and agricultural professionals is of vital importance to Smithfield and our industry,” said Schwanzetta Williams, vice president of talent acquisition and diversity and inclusion for Smithfield Foods. “We are honored to receive this award and are deeply grateful to WCC and our partners across the nation for joining us in this important initiative. We also extend our appreciation to the apprentices in our Smithfield Family, whose dedicated commitment and efforts deserve to be celebrated.”

Smithfield launched its inaugural maintenance technician apprenticeship program with WCC in September 2019 and has since expanded the initiative to include partnerships with colleges near Smithfield facilities in Kansas City, MO and Omaha, NE. The company will introduce two additional programs at new locations in fall 2021.  

“I firmly believe that WCC excels because of its partners, and we are fortunate to have a strong partnership with Smithfield Foods in our apprenticeship endeavor,” said Dr. Thomas Walker, president of WCC. “It was our pleasure to nominate the company for ApprenticeshipNC's Outstanding Registered Apprenticeship Employer Award.”

In addition to its maintenance technician apprenticeship programs, Smithfield also expanded its partnerships with WCC and James Sprunt Community College of Kenansville, NC to include a new Farm Leadership Program offering high school graduates an opportunity to earn a swine management degree online while receiving on-the-job training at select Smithfield farms in Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia.

Smithfield's apprenticeship programs are complemented by the company's Career Foundation Program, which offers recent college graduates exposure, professional development and on-the-job experience in agriculture and consumer packaged goods by way of a temporary full-time job. Upon completing the program, participants can apply and interview for a permanent position within the company.

To learn more about career opportunities at Smithfield visit

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.