Students Learn About Manufacturing Careers at West Virginia Northern Community College Workshop
WHEELING — More than a hundred area eighth-grade students had the opportunity to learn about educational and career opportunities in West Virginia’s manufacturing industry during the Explore the New Manufacturing Regional Education Academy at West Virginia Northern Community College’s B&O Building in Wheeling Friday.
Made possible by The West Virginia Manufacturers Association Educational Fund (WVMAEF), the program began with presentations on manufacturing and then moved into hands-on labs with representatives from local companies, including: the TROY Group, Ziegenfelder Frozen Treat Co. and the Mull Group. WVNCC instructors in the school’s applied technology and industrial technology centers also spoke about a variety of careers to middle school students from Bridge Street, Moundsville, Sherrard, Triadelphia Middle and Warwood.
WVMAEF Program Director Monica Cross, who is presenting the Fund’s Explore the New Manufacturing Program to students all over West Virginia, said they are developing manufacturing academies in nine different regions around the state. They are trying to provide an awareness for area students about the different types of manufacturing jobs available in this region.
“It’s important to teach younger students about potential career paths with hands-on experience. Our Explore programs connect local manufacturers with students before they even enter high school,” Cross explained. “At this age, students can see what real careers in industry will be like and learn what their education pathway needs to be to achieve success in manufacturing.”
She said they hold programs for high school students around the state as well.
“A lot of jobs that are in manufacturing today align with high technical skills that a lot of these students have because they have grown up with technology,” she added.
Cross said they planned to hold some fun but educational competitions with the students in school’s auditorium at the conclusion of the day’s events.
Explore the New Manufacturing is offered by the WVMAEF in partnership with the West Virginia Manufacturers Association. Explore brings together tomorrow’s workforce with local and regional manufacturing companies to inform students of educational and career opportunities in the state’s manufacturing industry. The campaign helps generate excitement and interest about manufacturing and related industries in West Virginia.
The average annual salary in manufacturing in West Virginia is $65,000 — 20 percent higher than the state average, according to the Explore program. In addition, there are more than 1,100 manufacturing companies in West Virginia, employing approximately 50,000 people.