WVNCC, Murray Energy Partner to Help Students Mine for Opportunities

Photo by Scott McCloskey Flanked by Pierpont Community & Technical College President Johnny M. Moore, left, and West Virginia Northern Community College President Vicki L. Riley, Murray Energy Corporation Vice President of Operations Ryan Murray announces a new partnership with the two schools during a press conference Monday in St. Clairsville.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Through a newly formed partnership with Murray Energy Corporation, West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling and Pierpont Community & Technical College in Fairmont will offer a new certified associate degree program in mine maintenance.

Flanked by WVNCC President Vicki L. Riley and Pierpont President Johnny M. Moore at Murray Energy headquarters in St. Clairsville, Murray Energy Corporation Vice President of Operations Ryan Murray made the official announcement during a brief press conference Monday afternoon.

The two-year program, which will begin this fall, also will include opportunities to gain experience with Murray Energy. Once accepted by either college, students will be required to complete two-week training offered by Murray Energy, and have the opportunity to work part-time with company. After successfully completing the two-year program students also will have the potential to be hired by Murray Energy for a full-time position.

Interested students can enroll now at either school and informational sessions will be held at Pierpont’s Fairmont campus on June 9 and at WVNCC’s Wheeling campus on June 16. Prospective students must apply by July 9 for the fall semester by visiting pierpont.edu or wvncc.edu.

“In recent years we have seen and have forecasted an increased need for talented maintenance personnel within our business,” Murray said.

“This program will allow us to recruit and train the proper individuals for unprecedented career growth opportunities in the maintenance fields. The partnership will be our number one conduit for hiring maintenance personnel. We encourage applications to the program starting today,” he added.

Murray said the program is a certified associates degree course designed to provide an essential mine maintenance foundation for selected individuals to produce entry level mine maintenance management and unprecedented career growth opportunities.

Murray explained. “The curriculum was established by senior Murray Energy maintenance management … and their counterparts at West Virginia Northern and Pierpont. … Tuition assistance will be provided both by the state of West Virginia’s existing grant programs and by Murray Energy Corporation. This will result in a minimal out-of-pocket investment for the trainee in the program while also providing enormous career growth potential,” he added.

Murray said this program is a “win, win” situation for everyone involved.

Riley said WVNCC is grateful to Murray Energy for their commitment to the region and the success of area students.

“We are excited for our students to obtain a great technical education and the potential for a wonderful career close to home,” Riley commented. “I would like to think that this is community colleges’ at our best. This is what we do. We work with business and industry — they identify their needs and we try to pull together all the right resources to make that happen for them,” Riley added.

Larry Tackett, vice president of economic and workforce development for WVNCC, said it is important to note that many of the classes offered during the first year of the program will apply to a wide variety of other occupations available throughout the region. He said the second year of the program will offer more “mine specific” classes that will be developed between the two schools and the Murray corporation. He said the schools started developing the classes with Murray a few months ago.

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