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WV’s second tech training center opens in Fairmont

Times West Virginian photo by Kelsie LeRose Pictured is the North Central Advanced Technology Center, managed by Pierpont Community and Technical College, located in the 1-79 Technology Park.
Times West Virginian photo by Kelsie LeRose
Pictured is the North Central Advanced Technology Center, managed by Pierpont Community and Technical College, located in the 1-79 Technology Park.

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III cut the ceremonial ribbon Monday at the dedication ceremony of the second of two state-of-the art Advanced Technology Centers (ATC) in West Virginia, the latest located at the I-79 Technology Park.

The 65,416 square-foot, two-story, multi-faceted training facility will host customized workforce development and events.

The concept of the two ATCs is to serve the state’s growing workforce training, emerged from Tomblin, who was West Virginia Senate President at the time, and Manchin who was governor at the time.

 “(We) know how important it is to entice people to come and locate their businesses here or to expand their business here,” Tomblin said. “One of the first questions they ask is, ‘what kind of workforce do you have? Do you have the training we need?’”

Tomblin said that now, with this facility opening here in North Central West Virginia and the second center in Kanawha County for Southern West Virginia, people can basically be trained to do any job that any manufacturer wants them to be able to do.

“That is what makes this so great,” he said. “It is not one of those jobs that takes four years to get trained, you can come here and get the kind of training that particular employee needs in a matter of months, or maybe a year, and have a job waiting for them. That is the important thing, get the kind of skills that employers need for businesses to expand in West Virginia.”

Manchin said that they knew they needed to get people prepared for the job market.

“Everybody is not designed to go to a four-year college,” he said. “I had gone to Canada, came back, and Earl Ray and I started talking about what we can do for West Virginia. We came up with changing the whole community and technical college as we know it with two technology centers that are modern and up-to-date.

“This is guaranteeing that if you go through the program, whether it be in Southern West Virginia or North Central, right here we are in Fairmont, you are going to get a job. A good job. These can be tailored to the jobs that are needed today West Virginia.”

Manchin added while other states may be cutting back, “we were still investing in education trying to get people the skill sets they needed,” he said. “I am just happy that today has came, it has been a long time coming but it’s here.”

Dr. Johnny Moore, president of Pierpont Community & Technical College, said the dedication also is to celebrate partnerships and relationships.

“Pierpont partnered with West Virginia Community and Technical College System to make this building a reality,” Moore said. “Pierpont is proud to be one of the partners with the state in the delivery of trained workers to fulfill and expand workforce needs in North Central West Virginia.”

Fulfilling workforce needs is our mission, Moore added.

“We are planning an aggressive approach to reach out to all of the secondary schools within our region and other industry markets to retrain, retool and place folks back into the West Virginia job market,” he said. “Pierpont is the most versatile higher education system in North Central West Virginia.”

Leaders from energy, chemical, healthcare, emergency management and information technology industries are taking advantage of the ATC. One example is the FirstEnergy Corporation.

Holly Kauffman, president of West Virginia Operations for FirstEnergy, spoke about the benefits of partnering with Pierpont Monday.

“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 in the event’s press release.

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, the release said.

It is the goal to provide 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 in North Central West Virginia, the release added.

Property for the North Central ATC was donated by the High Tech Foundation.

Email Kelsie LeRose at [email protected]

See more from The Times West Virginian. 


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