Two Central Piedmont students receive scholarships to study abroad as apprentices

last modified Oct 08, 2018 08:16 AM

The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the German Language and Culture Foundation (GLCF), has awarded two Central Piedmont Community College students, William Jaeger of Fort Mill, S.C., and Owen Sims of Huntersville, N.C., a $5,000 scholarship to its “Study and Work Abroad – Experience the German Workplace as an Apprentice!” program.

“Less than five percent of Central Piedmont students study abroad as a technician and/or engineer. Of those, only one percent are apprentices,” said Daniela Weinert, German instructor at Central Piedmont and president of the board of trustees for the German Language and Culture Foundation. “’Study and Work Abroad – Experience the German Workplace as an Apprentice!’ strives to increase this number by encouraging more students to study abroad as an apprentice.”

“Study and Work Abroad – Experience the German Workplace as an Apprentice!” is a three-month program comprised of one month of language study and two months of on-the-job training. To qualify, participants must be studying the German language for at least one semester, be between 18 and 25 years of age, and be enrolled in a college curriculum program that is recognized in Germany, such as Central Piedmont’s Mechatronics program. Once accepted, the student will receive college credit for their time in Germany, while remaining an employee of the U.S.-based company where they serve as an apprentice and earn a regular paycheck.

Jaeger is an apprentice with groninger USA, a company that designs customized machines for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and consumer healthcare industries. As part of the program, he will journey to the corporation’s Crailsheim location to receive on-the-job training, after attending a German class at the Goethe Institute in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, for one month.

Sims is an apprentice with Max Daetwyler, Inc.’s Micro Waterjet Division. There, he will work with abrasive micro machining technology to learn how to cut a wide range of materials, including heat- sensitive substances. Sims will begin his study abroad experience by first enrolling in a German class for one month at the Goethe Institute in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, followed by continuing his apprenticeship at Max Daetwyler Inc.’s headquarters in Bleienbach, Switzerland.

“The program provides a unique and invaluable opportunity for both our students and groninger USA,” said Heiner Dornburg, managing director at groninger USA. “The cultural insight and work experience in Germany are an important basis for success in today’s and tomorrow’s global reality.”

The German Language and Culture Foundation received a grant from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support this program. GLCF decided to launch the program at CPCC because of the college’s robust German language program and established apprenticeship partnerships with Siemens Energy, Bosch Rexroth, Blum, groninger USA, Pfaff Mold, Daetwyler and others. Also important to the decision was the existing cooperation of Central Piedmont and IHK Karlsruhe, a German chamber of industry and commerce that recognizes multiple Central Piedmont degree programs.

The students may use the scholarship’s funding to cover the costs of the program’s tuition, books, travel expenses and accommodations.

To learn more about apprenticeships, visit To learn more about Central Piedmont’s study abroad programs, visit To learn more about the German Language and Culture Foundation and its projects, please visit


William Jaeger
Mechatronics major and first-year German student William Jaeger is looking forward to his time in Germany this winter – making new friends in Germany and exploring the country on the weekends – as part of the Study and Work Abroad – Experience the German Workplace as an Apprentice!” program.

The Fort Mill, S.C., resident and Nation Ford High School graduate currently serves as an apprentice for groninger USA, LLC, learning how to build and maintain the company’s advanced machinery. Jaeger hopes his time abroad gives him the opportunity to learn valuable mechanical and electrical skills from his German peers that he can later take home and apply to his job in the States.

Jaeger’s future plans include traveling more, continuing his engineering studies at a four-year institution and working for groninger USA, LLC, well into the future.


Owen Sims

CPCC mechatronic technology student Owen Sims is looking forward to continuing to serve as a machine operator/programmer for Max Daetwyler Inc. as part of Central Piedmont’s “Study and Work Abroad – Experience the German Workplace as an Apprentice!” scholarship program when he travels abroad to Switzerland this winter.

Sims, a Huntersville resident, New Life Christian Academy alumnus and fourth year Apprenticeship 2000 student, is excited to not only expand his understanding of German – a language he has only studied one semester! – but also to learn more about Daetwyler’s overseas micro waterjet operations by gleaning the knowledge of his peers in Switzerland.

In addition to sharpening his on-the-job skills, Sims looks forward to immersing himself in a different language and culture while abroad. He is set to graduate from Central Piedmont in December with an associate degree in mechatronics. Upon completing his apprenticeship with Daetwyler in August 2019, he will continue his employment as a programmer in the Micro Waterjet division of Daetwyler’s Huntersville location.