Smithfield Donates $1 Million for North Carolina Apprenticeship Program

Nov. 27, 2023
The SEED program seeks to grow the advanced manufacturing and agriculture workforce through work-based learning and apprenticeships.

Smithfield Foods donated $1 million to launch the Southeastern Education and Economic Development (SEED) apprenticeship program, a youth apprenticeship program that will provide career pathways and college education for high school students in southeastern North Carolina counties.

The SEED program is a partnership between Smithfield and the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE), a business-led, education non-profit (501-c3) that operates out of the Office of the Governor. Since 1983, NCBCE has linked North Carolina business leaders and the state's education and workforce systems to create connections, pilot innovative programs and support educator professional development.

SEED seeks to grow the advanced manufacturing and agriculture workforce through work-based learning and apprenticeships. SEED will begin its focus with pathways in Industrial Systems and Mechatronics, two industries in high demand in southeastern North Carolina, and expand to include more career pathways each year. The initiative will be aimed at middle school and high school students.

"Today's high school students are tomorrow's workforce," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. "Youth apprenticeship programs like the SEED initiative will provide students with an opportunity to learn valuable skills while getting on-the-job training."

"Our goal is to develop the next generation of leaders through supporting education in our communities, and the SEED program is a great way to help these students jump-start their early career development," added Steve Evans, vice president of community development for Smithfield.

In addition to support for local communities and projects throughout North Carolina, Smithfield provides $2 million to the state every year to fund environmental projects through the North Carolina Dept. of Justice's Environmental Enhancement Grant program, which began with a voluntary agreement between the Attorney General's Office and Smithfield Foods in 2000.

Through Smithfield's annual funding, the program has awarded nearly $43 million to more than 228 environmental projects across the state that have funded the restoration or permanent conservation of more than 31,000 acres of land, wetland restoration, stormwater remediation, stream stabilization, and several environmental education and research initiatives.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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