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Canada and BC invest in new trades training centre at Okanagan College
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Image by BC Gov Photos
A .21M investment in a new Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College will create jobs, put students first and support skills.

The funding will support the construction of a new 1,250 square-metre facility, which will address a shortage of available trades training shops in the region by providing a purpose-built space on campus.

Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson and Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster made the announcement during a visit to the Okanagan College Vernon campus.

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Image by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
Highlights STEM accomplishments,
proclaims STEM Day in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (November 29, 2016) – After proclaiming today STEM Day in West Virginia, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced the student winners of the State Capitol Minecraft Design/Build contest. This contest was a collaborative effort involving the Governor’s STEM Initiative, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and the Education Alliance.

The competition, which began in May, was open to West Virginia students, grades PreK-12 and challenged participants to either create a new version of the state capitol building or produce a replica of the current complex using Minecraft. Governor Tomblin recognized both individual and team winners from each category.

"I applaud each student who took the time to create their own versions of our state capitol," said Gov. Tomblin. "More than once this summer, I saw students exploring the capitol grounds, taking notes and preparing for the hours they would spend creating their submissions. Their efforts certainly paid off. It’s important that we encourage our students to develop the skills and interests that build a foundation for future success in STEM fields – into college, training programs and careers."

The students recognized today received more than ,100 in gift cards to be used for educational purposes. In addition, Microsoft is providing a Surface Pro 4 to each of the top two winners for each category-Asad Ranavaya from Cabell Midland High School in Cabell County and Justin Hardwick from East Fairmont High School in Marion County.

Before the student recognition ceremony, Governor Tomblin hosted a roundtable discussion with state and education officials, along with students, to highlight the efforts and successes of his STEM Council and STEM Initiative.

"There is a critical need to focus our state’s attention on science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said Gov. Tomblin. "West Virginia’s workforce needs are evolving and in order to fill jobs in the future, all of us – from K-12, higher education, and workforce and economic development – must work together to provide our students access to the best STEM education opportunities."

The Governor STEM Council was established to develop specialized STEM education opportunities for West Virginia students and increase the number of graduates in these fields. The council is comprised of business and education leaders across the state.

The following students were recognized today by Governor Tomblin:

Benjamin Reed, Village of Barboursville Elementary School
Zane Spencer, Cherry River Elementary School
Camdyn Hill, Terra Alta/East Preston Middle School
Madison McCloud, Madison Middle School
Elizabeth Shaf, Charleston Catholic High School
Jensen Tucker, Grafton High School
Austin Ballenger, Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
Gabe Coleman, Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
Ian Morrison, Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
Savion Myers, Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
Jackson Stewart, Washington High School
Jacob Thrasher, Washington High School
Matteo Cerasoli, Washington High School
Asad Ranavaya, Cabell Midland High School
Justin Hardwick, East Fairmont High School

Photos available for media use. All photos should be attributed “Photo courtesy of Office of the Governor.”

Job Training In College
Image by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
Governor Tomblin, Senator Manchin, Community College System, Employers Join In
Dedicating New, Innovative North Central Advanced Technology Center

Fairmont, W.Va. (October 31, 2016) – The second of two state-of-the-art Advanced Technology Centers (ATC) in the state was dedicated today, when Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin cut the ceremonial ribbon celebrating the opening of the 65,416 square-foot, two-story, multi-faceted training facility to host customized workforce development and events at the I-79 Technology Park.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin comments centered on how partnerships bring about positive changes in our state. “Here in West Virginia, we need a technically-skilled, highly-trained workforce. We need higher education and business and industry to work hand-in-hand. And we need to look around the corner to new innovations and opportunities that will make our state economically strong and competitive for the long haul,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. “Today, as we dedicate this state-of-the-art Advanced Technology Center, these innovations and opportunities are all around us. In these classrooms, our students will have the best technology at their fingertips and the opportunity to gain in-demand skills for the jobs we know need filled. As they earn their credentials and start their careers, their families and communities will be stronger – and our state’s future will be brighter.”

“Strengthening West Virginia’s Community and Technical Colleges is something I have been passionate about since my time as Governor,” U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the CTC system, state and local officials, business investors and students who have worked together to advance these programs. The North Central Advanced Technology Center will help innovate our workforce training programs for West Virginia’s businesses and increase our students’ achievement.”

The West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) shepherded construction of both new ATCs (the South Central ATC in South Charleston was dedicated on August 19, 2014) through state-supported initiatives to help provide employers with well-trained, technically advanced workers. The North Central ATC, managed by Pierpont Community & Technical College, offers contemporary classrooms and ample laboratory space for programs such as Applied Process Technology, which includes three pathways (Advanced Manufacturing, Energy Systems Operations and Instrumentation and Controls); Petroleum Technology; Laboratory Assistant; Electric Utility Technology; Medical Laboratory Technology; and Health Information Technology. Through collaborative partnerships and private support, the ATC will play an essential role throughout North Central West Virginia in providing the latest technologies, programs, and expertise to increase regional economic growth; focusing on job creation; fostering economic development; and encouraging more students to enter Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers.

The concept of authorizing and funding the two ATCs to serve the state’s growing workforce training challenges emerged when Governor Tomblin was West Virginia Senate President and Senator Manchin was Governor. “For our employers to be competitive and our citizens to gain much-needed skills, the Mountain State must be able to have the advanced facilities to produce a highly educated technical workforce,” said Pierpont Community & Technical College President Johnny Moore. “The new ATC in Marion County will be a tremendous asset – a world-class facility offering quality educational programming allowing our workers and employers to be competitive in a global market.”

“Pierpont’s new North Central Advanced Technology Center is needed to prepare students for careers in an expanding technology industry which is poised for growth in West Virginia. By providing quality workforce-training and educational opportunities through its challenging programs, this new facility will contribute to the success of this institution and its students,” said Senator Capito.

Leaders from energy, chemical, healthcare, emergency management and information technology industries are taking advantage of the ATC’s spacious, private and technologically-diverse features.

One such partner is FirstEnergy Corporation. Holly Kauffman, President of West Virginia Operations for FirstEnergy, sees benefits in partnering with Pierpont. “Our partnership with Pierpont is a successful example of how business and education can work together to create opportunities for our next generation to be successful right here in West Virginia,” said Kauffman.

Community and technical colleges in the Mountain State and nationwide are being counted on for leadership in improving energy innovation, advanced manufacturing and healthcare technology fields, as skill needs are rapidly changing and technology in the workplace is becoming more prevalent. To build capability, the West Virginia Community and Technical College System and its industry partners are competitive in pursuing federal training dollars and using flexible state resources such as the “earn and learn” program. Recent federal grant successes include the million “Bridging the Gap” award, a .2 million award for training dislocated workers, and a million TechHire award.

“By 2020, sixty-five percent of jobs will require some form of postsecondary education,” said WVCTCS Chancellor Sarah Tucker. “It’s imperative that we increase accessibility to community and technical education, so that we can supply a highly skilled workforce for our current employers and attract new businesses to our state. The completion of the second Advanced Technology Center will give more West Virginains the opportunity to get the education needed for high-paying, high-demand careers.”

The Governor, Senate Manchin and guests took a tour of the facility to learn more about the programs and state-of-the-art equipment housed at the ATC. Faculty and students were on hand for demonstrations and to respond to questions.

The West Virginia University Army ROTC color guard presented the colors and Rev. D. D. Meighen, retired pastor at Central United Methodist Church, offered the invocation. Property for the North Central ATC was donated by the High Tech Foundation.

Photos available for media use. All photos should be attributed “Photo courtesy of Office of the Governor.”

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