W.Va. community and technical college system awarded $4 million federal labor grant

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The nine-college West Virginia Community and Technical College System, including Blue Ridge CTC near Martinsburg, is getting a nearly $4 million federal apprenticeship grant. 

The grant, from the U.S. Department of Labor, will support Apprenticeships in Motion, which will train and place apprentices in middle-to high-skilled IT occupations. 

“Blue Ridge Community and Technical College is pleased to participate in this innovative grant which will further strengthen the partnerships with regional employers and provide valuable concrete learning experiences for our students,” Blue Ridge CTC President Pete Checkovich said in a news release. “The support of this grant funding will sharpen our efforts to produce a well trained and educated workforce for West Virginia.” 

Keith Busby, site human resources manager for Procter & Gamble Co. at the company’s Tabler Station plant, welcomed the announcement. 

“This is a great opportunity for the Eastern Panhandle community and the state of West Virginia,” Busby said in the news release. “We look forward to the growth this will enable our community through business and education partnerships.” 

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta was on hand to make the announcement on Monday at BridgeValley Community and Technical College in South Charleston, W.Va. 

Acosta also participated in a roundtable discussion about the importance of apprenticeships in workforce development with U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito; Sarah Tucker, West Virginia Community and Technical College System’s chancellor; and others. 

“The Apprenticeships in Motion program will provide opportunities for West Virginians to learn in-demand skills in the information technology industry,” Acosta said in the announcement. “Apprenticeship programs are critical to filling the 7.4 million open jobs in the United States and providing the American workforce with pathways to family-sustaining careers.” 

The state’s community and technical college system institutions serve 28,000 students, nearly 4,200 of whom enroll in IT courses, according to higher education officials.

Apprenticeships in Motion’s goal is to build a workforce to fill the state’s IT industry skills gap and expand the number of businesses participating in West Virginia’s Learn and Earn program. The Legislature created the program to bolster the state’s workforce by matching wages with employers that hire students pursuing certificates or associate degrees to be their apprentices.


By:  Matthew Umstead
Source: Herald-Mail Media