Sept. 03–WHITSETT — About three years ago, Garrison Weavil got wind of a deal that seemed too good to be true.

A counselor at Southeast Guilford High told him that if he signed up to be an apprentice, he’d have a guaranteed full-time job — plus benefits — for four years. His GTCC classes would be paid for. After four years, he would have a debt-free associate’s degree and a journeyworker’s card that practically guarantees employment.

Weavil remembers the reactions of some of his classmates — “They were saying, ‘No way, they’re not going to pay for college,” he said — but he was intrigued.

Weavil took the deal, and in 2016 joined the first class of apprentices assembled by Guilford Apprenticeship Partners. This coalition of local companies, most of them manufacturers, is signing up high school-aged apprentices