MTU Aiken Plant Apprentice Recognized by GACC

The German American Chambers of Commerce (GACCs) presented high school senior Nigeria Williams with the Trainee of the Year award. Williams is a student at South Carolina’s Aiken County Career Center and South Aiken High School, and is the first female participant in the MTU Aiken Plant apprenticeship program. The MTU Aiken Plant, which produces world-class diesel engines for off-highway applications, is operated by MTU America Inc.

The MTU brand is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems within the Land & Sea division of Rolls-Royce. Williams was presented the award by Martin Richenhagen, chairman of the GACC South and chairman, president and CEO of AGCO Corp., during the annual German American Business Outlook conference held in New York. By winning the award, Williams also earned an educational trip for two to Berlin, Germany that will include a customized program of cultural and historical highlights.

“Nigeria Williams is a model student and we are lucky to have her as part of the MTU Aiken apprenticeship program,” said Joerg Klisch, vice president of North American operations, MTU America. “Her drive motivates others and her exceptional performance, both on the shop floor and in the classroom, underscores the endless benefits vocational training offers young students. We are proud of Nigeria and her many accomplishments.”

Launched in 2012, the Trainee of the Year award recognizes the best talent within an outstanding German subsidiary based in the U.S. The award acknowledges the opportunities created by employers and applauds the initiative trainees have shown during their vocational education. Williams was nominated by MTU America and selected by a jury consisting of vocational training experts, among them professors from Columbia University as well as several vocational training institutions and associations. – more – 2 “This is a tremendous honor,” said Williams. “I would like to thank everyone at the GACC and at the MTU Aiken Plant for this award, and for all of their support during my time as an apprentice. I have enjoyed working with my trainers, co-workers and fellow apprentices, and I’m looking forward to continuing to build my career in industrial manufacturing.”

The apprenticeship program at the MTU Aiken Plant in Graniteville is the first-ever registered vocational apprenticeship program for high school students in the state of South Carolina and was developed in conjunction with Aiken County Schools, Aiken Technical College and Apprenticeship Carolina. Created in 2012, the two-year program provides high school juniors and seniors with hands-on vocational learning opportunities in a real manufacturing environment. Upon completing the program, MTU apprentices earn an Industrial Mechanic – Basic certification, which is recognized by the South Carolina Department of Education and U.S. Department of Education.

The certification qualifies MTU apprentices to work in any similar manufacturing facility in South Carolina and is also recognized by the Chamber of Commerce in Germany. Although the program is only in its third year of existence, the apprenticeship program at the MTU Aiken Plant has been recognized by the South Carolina Department of Education, the White House and the Association for Career and Technical Education. For more information about careers at MTU and the MTU Aiken Plant, please visit

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