Nicole Bentley is an Apprenticeship Carolina Consultant serving companies and apprentices within the counties for the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Aiken Technical College, and Trident Technical College.
Nicole is Apprenticeship Carolina’s newest team member but has long been familiar with the workforce development space as she has spent her career working in economic development. Prior to joining Apprenticeship Carolina, she was a principal with Resource Development Group, an economic development fundraising and consulting firm. While there, she wore a number of hats, working on everything from major full-scale funding campaigns for chambers of commerce and economic development organizations around the country to conducting best practice reports, SWOT analyses, and serving as manager of the firm’s marketing, graphic design, presentation preparation, and day-to-day digital operations. Nicole helped generate over 20 million dollars in operating revenue and funding for special initiatives for her clients. She was proud to support projects for organizations such as the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Dorchester County Economic Development, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Carolinas Gateway Partnership, and JAXUSA Partnership, among others.
She started her career working for the International Economic Development Council, the premier national membership organization for economic developers. She was tasked with fundraising for all four of IEDC’s yearly conferences while simultaneously supporting local host committee fundraising efforts. During her time at IEDC, Nicole also supported the membership department and oversaw the outreach and selection process for cities interested in hosting IEDC conferences.
Nicole holds three Bachelors of Arts in International Relations, Comparative Cultures & Politics, and French from the James Madison College at Michigan State University. She is an alumnus of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and joined her husband in Beaufort, South Carolina in 2014. In her free time, she likes to play with her son George, walk with her two pups, and spend as much time in the sun and near the water as possible. If laughing is involved, even better!
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Strong, Empathetic, Passionate.
Please tell us about your job.
I serve as a resource for companies within the TCL and Aiken Tech service areas throughout the registered apprenticeship program process from start to finish. I am there to support and guide them from their initial discovery meeting, throughout the creation of their program curriculum, structure, and logistics, and then of course in hiring and employing registered apprentices. All of this is done with the ultimate goal of creating a talent pipeline to aid local companies in finding talent and simultaneously helping community members find jobs that translate into careers.
What is something that you love about your job?
I love that I get to spend my day helping communities put people to work, which in turn helps people elevate their quality of life.
What drew you to apprenticeship?
I’ve spent the last six years in the economic development consulting space where I saw my clients’ biggest challenges shift pretty rapidly from being traditional economic development issues to focusing heavily on talent attraction and development as a result of skills gaps, aging workforce populations and a history of focus on four year college education pathways. Apprenticeship offers a strong and lucrative alternative, which is promising for so many young people and adults who are looking for an alternative option. I saw firsthand what apprenticeship can offer a community through my work with the Charleston Metro Chamber’s Accelerate Greater Charleston initiative and when presented with the opportunity to grow these types of programs elsewhere as my job, I jumped!
What is something that you enjoy or appreciate the most about being an apprenticeship consultant?
I am excited about being out in the community talking with employers about apprenticeship. No two days look the same from week to week as I am either doing training to stay current on trends and best practices, meeting with potential registered apprenticeship program sponsors or current sponsors, or working with community partners to continue to work on the goal of fostering job growth and community development.