School-Business Partnership Lands Student A Career

From left are Loren Griggs, The Godwin Group President Pat Godwin, Jr., Jackson Griggs, The Godwin Group Vice President Phyllis Godwin and Regina Griggs at Jackson’s signing with The Godwin Group at Harnett Central High School. On the table is a welder’s helmet and drape presented to Jackson who will be working at Godwin Manufacturing starting this summer.

Central grad getting head start at The Godwin Group

By Lisa Farmer

Eighteen-year-old Jackson Griggs is ready to start his first career employment straight out of high school thanks to a partnership with the school system, Central Carolina Community College and The Godwin Group.

Jackson will graduate this year from Harnett Central High School and last week he was honored during a signing ceremony at the school. This summer he will begin his apprenticeship program with Godwin Manufacturing in Dunn, one of the companies in four states that comprise The Godwin Group.

Godwin Manufacturing makes dump bodies and Jackson, with just one more class to go at CCCC, will be a fully certified welder. This was made possible through the partnership.

Harnett Central gave him a festive signing, surrounded by family, teachers, administrators, representatives from The Godwin Group as well as cupcakes and beverages and many photo opportunities.

“I am extremely pleased by The Godwin Group. The program checks almost every block I have,” Jackson said. “I can’t be happier with the set up.”

Pat Godwin, Jr., president of The Godwin Group, said Jackson is a capable welder, but Godwin Manufacturing intends to start him out in the install shop, which also includes welding, where his talents can develop.

Jackson, it seems, has a knack for anything mechanical and his portfolio his mother had him put together shows that.

“I was more impressed in that portfolio than anything else. It had pictures of the projects he has accomplished. He is mechanically inclined. He does good work for as young as he is,” Godwin said. “He may be our next ‘MacGyver,’” referring to the television show where the lead character could solve seemingly impossible obstacles by using the tools at hand.

“This is a young man that is so super talented. He will be an asset to the company,” said Phyllis Godwin, The Godwin Group vice president. “It means a lot to us because we are family and we wanted to give back to the community.”

His parents, Loren and Regina Griggs, are proud of Jackson. His dad showed a picture on his phone of a former beat-up pickup truck he gave his son at age 15 which is now a show truck Jackson enters in competitions.

In addition to his dad, he credits his ag teacher, Jody Milliron. Lindsey Hardee, Harnett County’s school to career coordinator, contacted Milliron about students for the apprenticeship program.

“She called me and (Jackson) was the only one I could think of,” Milliron said. “I gave his name to Lindsey and they ran with it.”

Pat Godwin, Jr. said a four-year college is not for everyone and society needs more skilled tradesmen.

“I am a firm believer every person needs to be a productive member of society in any way they can be,” he said.

Godwin also wanted to remember the late Brian Jones who once coordinated the partnership. Jones was general manager of Champion in Dunn, another business in The Godwin Group, but passed away following a terminal illness. Godwin said the partnership waned after Jones’ death, but it’s back and there are more developments in the works involving the school system’s Career and Technical Education program.

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