Release and photo courtesy of Rowan-Salisbury Schools

You’ve probably heard of a college signing, but have you ever heard of a career signing?

Salisbury High School (SHS) senior Jacob Gleason participated in Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ (RSS) first-ever career signing in December. He committed to a paid apprenticeship at Salisbury-based manufacturing company Power Curbers.

Not unlike a student-athlete, Jacob’s been preparing for this moment for much of his high school career. Jacob enrolled at Salisbury High during his junior year after a move from Texas. He told school counselors that he enjoyed working with his hands, so they suggested he give the school’s Advanced Manufacturing Academy a try.

“Once I started doing it, I really enjoyed it,” Jacob said. “I enjoy what I get to do working with my hands.”

Advanced manufacturing teacher Dwayne Foy immediately recognized Jacob’s natural talent, and when the opportunity to have a student participate in a pre-apprenticeship at Power Curbers through Apprenticeship Rowan, he knew Jacob was the perfect fit. Not only did Jacob receive hands-on training in
a high-paying career path, but he was also paid for his work through NextGen at NCWorks.

“He’s an extraordinary student, and he’s going to do very well in the manufacturing environment,” Foy said, adding, “I’m just so proud of him.”

During his pre-apprenticeship, Jacob had the opportunity to explore different aspects of the manufacturing industry, including assembly, hydraulics, hydraulic schematics and electrical.

Randy Ward, who supervises Jacob at Power Curbers, said Jacob came in willing to learn, and he immediately left a positive impression with his coworkers.

“He’s impressed us all,” Ward said. “Jacob has a bright future in Rowan County, and I’m so excited to be a part of it,” Ward said.

“Jacob really found his niche,” said RSS Career and Technical Education Director Dr. Holly Pore. “We encourage those in Rowan-Salisbury Schools to develop their passions, and then we help build that interest and connect it to a career. Jacob was able to connect his passion and interest to a career.”

Not only did this experience create a bright future for Jacob, his interest in Advanced Manufacturing kept him engaged in school.

“Honestly, before I had this opportunity, I probably would have dropped out,” he said. “My life changed.”