Knapheide Welcomes SCTC Apprentice

Date Posted: May 9, 2023

Last week, Richard “RJ” Brent Jr. joined Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta as a welding apprentice through the newly expanded Registered Apprenticeship program offered by Southern Crescent Technical College (SCTC).

“Our apprenticeship program is an important part of our college’s commitment to providing our students with practical, hands-on training that prepares them for success in their chosen careers,” Lemuel Mercado, Dean for Academic Affairs at Southern Crescent Technical College, said. “It took a lot of effort from our staff and faculty to develop and implement this program, but we believe it is well worth the investment.”

Brent is the first apprentice to work at Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta and to be placed from Southern Crescent’s welding program.

knapeheuide apprenticeship
Photo: L-R: Stephen Mann, General Manager of Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta; RJ Brent, Installer at Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta; and Bailey Watson Team Leader at Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta More photos available at

The U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program allows students to learn while they earn, pairing related technical instruction from Southern Crescent Technical College with paid on-the-job learning from employers like Knapheide. This work-based learning system fulfills workforce needs by preparing individuals for a career in high demand technical programs.

“Knapheide is proud to partner with Southern Crescent Technical College and expand the State of Georgia’s Registered Apprenticeship program,” Stephen Mann, General Manager of Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta, said. “We are so excited to have RJ on our team. The apprenticeship program allows RJ to make money and get real, on-the-job experience while taking classes. Knapheide also benefits by having a direct pipeline of local, skilled talent that will be on our team for years to come.”

Southern Crescent Technical College President Dr. Irvin Clark stated “Southern Crescent Technical College is pleased to partner with the Georgia Department of Labor to offer the Registered Apprenticeship program. Through this program, SCTC is able to assist our local employers with innovative and timely workforce solutions. The Registered Apprenticeship model

enables employers to take charge of building their own pipeline of highly-skilled and motivated employees, offering a flexible and specific learning program aligned with national industry standards. We look forward to the opportunity to assist additional companies to fill their workforce needs with qualified workers.”

Brent will learn under the direction of Felix Morales, installer at Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta. Morales has been with the company for four years.

“I enjoy being a mentor to new employees,” Morales said. “I enjoy sharing my knowledge to help them grow and progress in learning new skills. I find RJ to be a quick learner. He is very attentive and follows instructions. He is focused, thorough and completes his tasks in a timely manner. I know a lot of this is due to his own personal drive and the instruction he received while at Southern Crescent. RJ will be a great asset to Knapheide Atlanta.”

Brent will continue working at Knapheide Truck Equipment Center Atlanta for three years to complete his apprenticeship. Upon the completion of his training, Brent will be free to choose his employer, whether it be Knapheide or another company.

“It has been a learning curve,” Brent said. “So far I really enjoy it, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me at the company.”


About Knapheide

From wagons to work trucks, Knapheide’s determination, innovation and family values set them apart as the industry leader. This year, Knapheide is celebrating 175 years as a family-owned and -operated business in Quincy, Ill., continuing to provide customers with high-quality, work-ready transportation solutions. For more information on the company, visit

Southern Crescent Technical College is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and serves the workforce and community needs of Butts, Fayette, Henry, Jasper, Lamar, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties. The College is a public, accredited, two-year post-secondary institution serving a diverse student population by offering academic credit programs and services, adult education, continuing education and programs customized for business and industry.

Southern Crescent Technical College is committed to excellence and is characterized by outstanding instruction, a comprehensive commitment to state-of-the-industry training and workforce development, and a close connection to the community. As the College grows, Southern Crescent Technical College will continue to expand its educational programs and facilities to provide students with enhanced opportunities for career success. For more information on Southern Crescent Technical College or its offerings, please visit