CONTACT: Paul D. Daugherty, Executive Director (304) 424-8340 (O)
WVU at Parkersburg Foundation, Inc.
West Virginia University at Parkersburg is the recipient of an $86,000 grant to fund development of a new technology program.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation has conferred the funds for a Multi-Craft Technician program to be developed through the college’s Caperton Center for Applied Technology.
The grant is awarded through the WVU at Parkersburg Foundation.
“The ever-changing economy of West Virginia and the Mid-Ohio Valley presents a major challenge to provide a quality-trained workforce not only for today, but for many years to come,” stated Dr. Marie Foster Gnage, president of WVU at Parkersburg. “With workforce development as the goal, WVU Parkersburg has undertaken to define the maintenance needs of its service area.”
The college is developing the Multi-Craft Technician program to identify the short-term and long-term needs of the region’s labor and business communities to enhance workforce training. The goal is to eventually develop an associate’s degree program. The first phase of this project is to survey businesses in the college’s seven-county service area and Ohio. Approximately 70 to 100 businesses will be surveyed.
The evolving need for more technical expertise in maintenance is driving the project.
“Maintenance and technical assistance has changed from the old concepts of using baling wire and duct tape to keep machinery running to using high-tech skills to predict problems before they occur,” noted Bill Brown, associate dean of the Caperton Center.
“Today’s maintenance technician needs to be able to use a laptop computer and to understand the latest technology trends,” he added.
Upon completion of phase one, the needs assessment report will be used in the second phase to develop the courses and an associate’s degree program. The first courses for the new program are anticipated to begin in the 2005 fall semester.
“WVU at Parkersburg and the Foundation are extremely grateful and honored to receive this substantial grant from the Benedum Foundation,” said Paul D. Daugherty, executive director of the WVU at Parkersburg Foundation.
“Benedum’s investment in this project is allowing a new program to be designed to meet the needs of hospitals, health care providers, real estate investors, retail and wholesale businesses, government agencies, and schools as well as industry,” Daugherty noted.
“The Benedum Foundation supports workforce development efforts that address employer demand and the best opportunities for career advancement. The Multi-Craft Technician program is just the kind of innovative “cross-training” curriculum that gives employees the flexibility to maneuver changes in employer demand. The same flexibility helps employers sustain productivity in a changing economy”, stated Jim Denova, senior program officer for the Benedum Foundation.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation was established in 1944 by the late Michael and Sarah Benedum, natives of West Virginia, as a memorial to their only child, Claude Worthington, who died in 1918 at the age of 20. The Foundation is a regional foundation focusing on West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. Since its inception, the Foundation has made more than 6,500 grants totaling over $265,000,000.
More information about the Multi-Craft Technician Program is available by contacting Bill Brown at the college, (304) 424-8365.