WVU-P given $150K grant to boost workforce training

PARKERSBURG – West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s Workforce and Community Education division has been named a recipient of a $150,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to support the Job Ready, Willing and Able initiative.

Funding was made available through the American Association of Community Colleges and the Walmart Foundation to 17 community colleges across the country in support of workforce training programs.

The association announced Thursday the $4.19 million three-year grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, including $2.67 million directly supporting 17 community colleges. The initiative will provide middle-skill training, industry recognized credentials and access to employment across varying industry sectors in each of the communities served by those colleges.

The initiative aims to provide more than 5,000 unemployed adults with new skills, credentials and jobs. The participating colleges, selected through a highly competitive process, address current and potential growth of jobs in their communities. WVU Parkersburg and other selected colleges will work closely with local businesses, economic development leaders and the area workforce systems to collaboratively address the needs of the unemployed.

“We are so grateful to the AACC and the Wal-Mart Foundation. This grant gives us the opportunity to expand our Chemical and Polymer Operator Technology program,” said Michele Wilson, executive director of the WCE division at WVU-P. “Doing so will allow us to assist the industry with the preparation of skilled workforce that is essential in meeting both current needs and projected local economic development needs.”

Through additional state funding made available through the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, WVU-P developed its program to train and educate students in a highly-skilled trade through a cooperative educational experience. Polymer Alliance Zone and the Mid-Ohio Valley Workforce Investment Board have also partnered with the college throughout this endeavor.

“We are proud and honored to be given the chance to provide our students and the surrounding community with the skills necessary to support the needs of our area businesses,” said WVU-P President Marie Foster Gnage.