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Wiregrass Student Receives First Recorded Apprenticeship at Whidden Gunworks

Pictured: (seated left to right) Carrie Whidden, owner of Whidden Gunworks, Garyson Scheller, WGTC apprentice, and John Widden, owner of Whidden Gunworks. Standing lr Darron Lanier, Wiregrass Precision Machining and Fabrication Instructor, Parents Ashley and Jonathan Scheller, Nicole West, Executive Director of Wiregrass Department Affairs, and Alison Watkins, Wiregrass Dean of Academic Affairs – technical and industrial.

NASHVILLE — Whidden Gunworks recently signed its first recorded apprenticeship agreement with a Wiregrass student.


Third-generation tech student Garyson Scheller signed a registered apprenticeship agreement with Whidden Gunworks.

Garyson is a Precision Machining and Manufacturing student at Wiregrass Tech’s Valdosta Campus. He began working at Whidden Gunworks as a work-learning student at Berrien High School. “Work-based learning is a great entry into the registered apprenticeship training model. We are proud that Garyson has chosen Wiregrass Tech to carry on the legacy of his family’s technical college,” said Nicole West, Director of Learning for Wiregrass. Garyson’s family heritage includes his grandmother, Susan Nelms, a graduate of the office/office assistant program, his mother, Ashley Scheller, a graduate of the computer applications program, and his father, Johnathan Scheller, a graduate of the industrial electricity program.

Registered Apprenticeship is a partnership between local industry and the technical college to provide real-world training alongside technical training. Garyson is apprenticed at Whidden Gunworks as a machine operator. After his apprenticeship, Garyson will receive a National Apprenticeship Completion Certificate from the US Department of Labor as well as a Precision Machining and Fabrication diploma from Wiregrass.

John Whidden, owner of Whidden Gunworks, shared this about the apprenticeship: “Garyson started working with us when he was in high school. It was a great pleasure to see him learn and mature in his abilities. The Wiregrass learning program suits all of us, and we couldn’t be happier to team up with Garyson and Wiregrass! I encourage anyone looking to develop their skills to consider an apprenticeship like this.

Whidden Gunworks manufactures some of the most innovative and creative precision products for the world of competitive and recreational shooting. Developed to meet the needs of repeat national champions and world record holders, all of their offerings are marksmanship products.

Wiregrass is proud to partner with 32 local businesses to sponsor apprentices for open job opportunities. Currently, the college has 32 active student apprentices. Additionally, 22 students completed their registered apprenticeship program and received a national certificate of completion. This program has proven beneficial to businesses and industries in recruiting, training and retaining highly skilled workers. Partnering with the college to hire students through the apprenticeship program has also shown reduced turnover costs, higher productivity, and a more diverse workforce.

If your company would like to know more about the apprenticeship program, please contact Nicole West. She can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 229-333-2100 ext. 4837. To learn more about Wiregrass Tech, visit any campus or online at