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Ten Surry-Yadkin Works Interns Sign with Northern Regional Hospital as Apprentices


The first youth apprentice program for registered nurses in North Carolina has culminated in 10 students committing to apprenticeships with Northern Regional Hospital in Mount Airy.

“The Youth Apprenticeship program has developed even more amazingly than we could have dreamed,” said Robin Hodgin, Senior Vice President of Patient Services & Chief Nursing Officer at Northern Regional Hospital. “We have been truly blessed with this group of students, a group that our staff have grown to love and appreciate. We’ve enjoyed seeing their smiling faces each day, not to mention their eagerness to learn new skills. We know these young ladies have very bright futures ahead, and we hope those futures return them to Northern.”

The apprentices are Carrie McKeaver and Ashley Sewell of Surry Central High School; Jenny Cortes and Natalie Evans of Mount Airy High School; Julie Marshall of East Surry High School; Katie Kellam of Elkin High School; Eryn O’Neal and Annsley Puckett of North Surry High School; Emily Orellana of Surry Early College High School; and Anna Serrano of Starmount High School.

This special opportunity is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program and the state’s ApprenticeshipNC program through the N.C. Community College System Office that combines a paid work-based learning experience with classroom academics leading to a national certification. These students will earn free tuition for the Associate Degree Nursing program at a North Carolina community college to become registered nurses.

The students began their pre-apprenticeships on January 11 and worked through May 14 as certified nursing assistants and patient care technicians. They received high school or college credit for their employment along with a stipend each month for travel expenses.

“The partnership that Surry-Yadkin Works has established with Northern Regional Hospital is incredibly exciting for our local students as they are connected early in their educational journey to the hospital, so they can explore career paths,” said Crystal Folger-Hawks, Program Director of Surry-Yadkin Works. “If it's a good fit, students can continue working at Northern Regional Hospital, while their college education is paid for through the ApprenticeshipNC program. This is a win-win for the business and students, and I'm proud to be a part of this endeavor.”

Surry-Yadkin Works is the first community-based internship program of its kind in North Carolina, officially beginning on January 1, 2021, covering a two-county region. The program has hit the ground running with 50 students being placed in internships for the Spring 2021 semester. Surry-Yadkin Works is the collaborative effort of four public school systems in Surry and Yadkin counties including Elkin City Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, Surry County Schools, and Yadkin County Schools, as well as Surry Community College, to create an innovative and unique approach to a regional internship program. The funding is also a joint effort with commitments from the Surry County Commissioners and the Yadkin County Commissioners. An anonymous contributor donated $100,000 prompted by a presentation about the program at an educational summit.

For more information about the Surry-Yadkin Works program, contact Crystal Folger-Hawks, Surry-Yadkin Works Program Director, at (336) 401-7820 or or visit You can also follow Surry-Yadkin Works on Facebook and Instagram @surryyadkinworks and on Twitter @SurYadWorks.

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