Hard work is nothing new to the people who live in and around West Virginia’s Greenbrier Valley. With our region’s rich history in hardwoods and coal production, generations of residents have learned the importance of a job well done and take pride in their work. They’re also remarkably loyal to their employers and eager to develop skills that allow them to do even more. Those attitudes are common through our region’s labor shed, which encompasses more than 282,000 people, many of whom have skills that are easily transferable.
K-12 Education Strengthens the Workforce
Greenbrier Valley’s K-12 education providers recognize the importance of instilling both skills and values in tomorrow’s workforce, so it’s no surprise that career and technical education (CTE) programs are a priority. Students from all four of the region’s high schools have access to a wide range of CTE programming that build strong foundations (and provide certifications) in field such as welding, woodworking, machinery, agriculture, engineering, and business management and administration. School districts work closely with local employers and the New River Community and Technical College to ensure that courses are relevant and applicable to the needs of local employers.
Higher Education for Skills & Advancement
Learning is a lifelong need, particularly when it comes to today’s rapidly changing business environment. Greenbrier Valley is fortunate to be home to higher education providers that have designed courses and degree programs around the specific needs of local companies. Businesses benefit from relationships with educators such as these:
New River Community and Technical College‘s Greenbrier Valley campus acts as a bridge between high school and the workforce or four-year college, working closely with local employers to ensure curriculum and equipment is appropriate for industry needs. In addition to customized programs built around company needs and shifts, NRCTC offers classes in field such as machining, industrial technology, CDL and OSHA certifications, and business. It also has the region’s only AWS welding certification testing center.
Robert C. Byrd Institute with nearby campuses in Bridgeport and South Charleston, provides programs in fields such as machining and welding. Its Manufacturing Fast Track Program delivers 40 hours of one-on-one instruction in the foundational skills and competencies manufacturers need, including working with 5-axis programming, CNC operation, and precision measurement tools.
West Virginia University, a public university in Morgantown, offers everything from certificates to doctoral programs, with areas of study that include agribusiness, animal and food science, business and management, and multiple engineering disciplines.
WVU Industrial Extension, an arm of WVU, works with small and medium size manufacturers in West Virginia to support operational improvement and business growth by developing training and consulting services that provide educational opportunities and customized manufacturing solutions.
WVU Tech, a WVU satellite campus located in nearby Beckley, provides even more higher education opportunities to our local workforce with programs like Adventure Recreation Management, Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and more.
State Workforce Training Programs
WorkForce West Virginia offers training grants and other programs to provide continuing education to ensure that workers have the skills they need to thrive. Whether an employer needs customized training, opportunities for workers to enhance specific skills, or programs to earn certificates or degrees, WorkForce West Virginia is eager to help. Some of their program include [all open PDFs]:
- Incumbent Worker Training is a cost sharing program for employers with employee training needs.
- On-the-Job Training is a hands-on training that the employer designs giving them an opportunity to train employees their way.
- Empowered Employment is a time-limited work experience program to aid those with barriers to employment in getting back into the workforce, improving employability skills, gaining references, and building a work history for their resume.
The Governor’s Guaranteed Work Force Program provides new or expanding companies training funds and technical assistance to support effective employee training strategies. Not limited to new employees, this program targets the business’s entire workforce, training, re-training, and upgrading skills across all levels.