BRIDGEPORT — In order to provide the state with a larger, more prepared and educated workforce, the Robert C. Byrd Institute, Marshall University and Pierpont Community and Technical College have joined forces to offer a machinist technology program to students.
The partnership was made Thursday morning at the Byrd Institute’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Bridgeport, where leaders from the three entities officially came together, or, according to Marshall President Dr. Jerome Gilbert, strengthened ties.
“We experienced today the creation of a stronger partnership,” Gilbert said. “The three of us together are working to train people for the workforce in many different ways. I think there’s options that we’ve given people in key courses to get their certificate.”
According to Robert C. Byrd Institute Director Charlotte Weber, the institute itself will provide the hands-on technical instruction and preparations for students to test for national certificates, while Pierpont will provide the general education courses and some technical courses needed for students for students to attain an Associates in Applied Science degree. In the past, 90 percent of the institute’s graduates from the machinist technology/CNC program have found employment in their chosen field.
While the institute has offered this program in the past, Weber said the partnership with the two schools really takes things to a new level.
“What it means is it’s a viable labor supply and a viable workforce that will exist here in West Virginia and will be able to be employed by existing companies, and also be recognized by out-of-state companies that may be looking to come to West Virginia,” Weber said. “One of the first things out-of-state companies look for when they’re looking to locate somewhere is an available workforce. By providing this training opportunity, West Virginia can say, ‘Yes, we do.’”
Pierpont Community and Technical College President Dr. Johnny Moore said that, in addition to aiding the students, each individual organization will benefit as well, taking them one step closer to achieving their goals.
“This means a great deal,” Moore said. “For us as a state, to really help move our state to next level and to really get down to the nut and bolts of what we need, we can only do that through partnerships and collaborations. It’s a tremendous opportunity for Pierpont, and that’s our mission. Our mission, unlike universities, is to provide educational opportunities for everyone.”
Happy with the partnership, Gilbert stressed the importance of togetherness and cooperation between different schools, organizations and other entities in the state, and said that the only way for West Virginians to progress is to move forward was one.
“For the state as a whole, it sends a message that there are institutions that want to work for the good of the whole state and create opportunities that are universal for people who can come,” Gilbert said. “It sends a message that we’re cooperators, not competitors. I think that’s a good message. We’re a small state, and in order to be successful, we have to come together and work together to create economic development and jobs and educational opportunities.”
For more information on the program, call 1-800-469-7224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.