Ignite Davie sparks career for young man
Published 1:51 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023
By Jeanna Baxter White
Word Master Media Group
Ignite Davie is proving to be a win-win for students and local employers.
Thanks to Davie’s college promise program, Robby Bostic started a career as an HVAC installer without educational debt, and Webb Heating & Air Conditioning gained a valuable new employee.
Bostic, a 2021 graduate of Davie High, decided in high school that he was not interested in attending a four-year university. His father is HVAC-certified, and Bostic chose to follow suit because he liked the hands-on aspect. He had considered attending Forsyth Tech until he learned about Ignite Davie and the opportunity to earn his HVAC and Electrical certifications at Davidson-Davie Community College (DDCC) free of charge.
“It was a huge help not needing to worry about paying for school,” he said. “I would definitely recommend Ignite Davie and DDCC to other students. I’ve learned a lot just by doing, but having the upfront book knowledge certainly helped.”
He completed the nine-month program and was hired by Webb within a month. Almost a year in, he loves his job and hopes to become a service technician.
Finding employees like Bostic is one of the reasons Webb supports Ignite Davie. Wayne Webb has been helping young people get started in the industry since starting the company 45 years ago. Donating to Ignite Davie is a natural extension of that commitment, he said. The company has supported the program since day one, as have several members of the Webb family.
Cassidy Webb, a 2013 graduate of Davie High, is one of the program’s youngest donors.
“Our number one challenge in business is attracting and retaining qualified staff,” said George Webb, general manager. “Ignite Davie is the first program in many years to give our graduating seniors career opportunities and a reason to stay in Davie County. Why wouldn’t we, as a business community and individual supporters, continue to support and reinvest in that?
“We’ve been committed to the program since its inception and are honored to have hired one of its first graduates. Robby is very bright, a hard worker, and leads by example. His opportunities at Webb are limitless. Employees from our own community who share our same values are the ones we want to hold on to and continue to invest in.
“Someone who still wants to work with their hands and is willing to get dirty to work in environments where it can be below freezing and up to 140 degrees in a hot attic and has a personality that we are proud to say represents the character of our business is a rare find.
“As a third-generation, family-operated company, we’ve always believed that our team are more than hourly workers; they are family. We have the opportunity to help them build their careers and build their lives. Our internal goal for every person we hire is to give them a place to stay until they retire through continued education and investing in them personally and professionally. Wayne Webb founded that philosophy, and we are proud to continue that tradition today.”
Ignite Davie is a place-based last-dollar scholarship, meaning students must live in and attend school in Davie County. All eligible high school graduates, regardless of financial need or academic ability, can continue their education and training to open the door to better career opportunities and increased earning potential.
Beginning with the Class of 2020, Ignite Davie pays tuition and fees for students to attend either campus of Davidson-Davie Community College full-time. A stipend of up to $250 per semester is included for books. Students may pursue a certificate, diploma, or associate/transfer program.
Beginning this fall, students can also enroll in a 16-week Electrical, HVAC, Nursing Assistant 1, or Phlebotomy program, allowing them to start a career in an in-demand field or complete the first step of a certification program.
Webb is pleased with the education that Bostic and Ignite Davie students receive through Davidson-Davie Community College.
“The training he received at DDCC gave him a leg up over those coming in green. Robbie entered the workforce as a contributing team member on day one versus his peers, who typically take three to six months to get up to speed.”
The company has a fully-functioning in-house training lab, so it can take students from the classroom, introduce them to field experience, and provide continuing education.
He also sees the benefit of Ignite Davie’s short-term training programs that begin this fall.
“It will open the door for those interested in our industry to go to school part-time and support themselves while learning a trade. Then it will be the job of companies like ours to pick up where that class time ends and to continue their education while they earn a full-time income.
“To know that Davie County and the Community Foundation have chosen to establish this program and give our young people this opportunity speaks volumes about the character of our community.”
“Ignite Davie is playing an instrumental role in providing promising careers to young people like Robbie while saving them and their parents thousands of dollars in tuition and fees,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of DavieCONNECT. “Ignite Davie is an investment in our students, and at the same time, it is an investment in Davie County. We are providing students with the opportunity for more education and training while developing our own talent pipeline to meet the needs of our business and industry. It is very rewarding to read our student success stories and know that Ignite Davie is also impacting our community’s vitality, our employers’ success, and the prosperity of our future generations.”
Ignite Davie has raised more than $2 million toward the $3 million endowment to ensure that today’s kindergarteners will have these same opportunities when they become seniors in high school.
To learn more, visit IGNITEDAVIE.com.