Home / News / RockATOP graduates 1st class

RockATOP graduates 1st class

Aug 11, 2022
Apprentices graduate from RockATOP program.
RockATOP’s initial cohort of apprentices became the program’s first graduating class in summer 2022. The graduates, by company with which they apprenticed, were: Erik Rivera-Yoc with ABCO Automation; Omar Rodriguez Mora with Amcor; Jordan Dawson and Levi Simons (not pictured), with Pine Hall Brick; and Jared Ellis, Gabe Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, Cody Mabry, Hunter Martin, Jacob Reynolds, and Logan Vincent, with Machine Specialties Inc. These graduates started in the program while high school students at McMichael, Morehead, Reidsville, and Rockingham.

A partnership among the College, Rockingham County Schools, and area industries celebrated a milestone with its first-ever graduating class from the program’s initial cohort.

The 11 graduates were celebrated in August, after four years of hard work and education as members of RockATOP – Rockingham Apprenticeship and Technical Opportunities Program.

The RockATOP program signed its first cohort in August 2018. The apprentices enrolled in at least 10 hours of college courses each semester at RCC, while working 30 to 35 hours per week at a partnering industry and earning a paycheck. They earned their Associate in Applied Science degrees from RCC with no debt, because all tuition, books, and fees were covered.

N.C. Rep. Reece Pyrtle spoke to the graduates at their ceremony.

“You have been diligent and persevered, working full-time and going to school part-time for the last four years. It hasn’t always been easy, but you have demonstrated resilience and maturity. You should each be proud of the accomplishments you have completed,” Pyrtle said. “You completed all the Department of Labor’s requirements, so you satisfied the State; you’re now eligible for your Journey Worker credentials in your registered occupation; you’ve attained an associate degree; and you’re the first graduating class of the entire apprenticeship program.”

He called them trailblazers who stepped up with a leap of faith.

High school students sign on as apprentices with RockATOP.
RockATOP signed 17 apprenticeships for 2022. ABCO Automation signed Isaac Aguilar, Nathan Collins, Ty Horsley (not pictured), Damian Moton, Hayden Pinnix, Jackson Pollock, and Nathan Rickman. Bridgestone Aircraft Tire signed Antonio Domingo Rangel. Pine Hall Brick signed Lane Blankenship and Clayton Hart. Machine Specialties Inc. signed Oscar Blackwell, Brenden Harris, Garyn Kennon, Dylan Law, Logan McNeely, Michael Teal, and Joel Vaughn.

The RockATOP program also signed 17 new students to start full apprenticeships for 2022.

“It’s partnerships like these that will push Rockingham County to the next level,” County Manager Lance Metzler said, “Having trained professionals educated right here is key to keeping our residents employed as well as happy to stay in our county.”

While RockATOP said goodbye to Career Counselor Lydia Craddock who retired, the program continues, offering career pathways in Robotics, CNC Machining, Mechanical, and Electrical.

~By Gerri Hunt, RCC Director of Public Information


Rockingham Community College
PO Box 38
215 Wrenn Memorial Rd.
Wentworth, NC 27375


Monday to Thursday:
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm


336-349-9986 (fax)