West Virginia University at Parkersburg has hired its first two employees to implement its portion of funding from the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program. Last year, the state’s Community and Technical College System (CTCS) was awarded $25 million to encourage West Virginians to enroll, pursue and graduate from technical programs that lead to high-wage, high-skill jobs in the manufacturing and mechatronics, energy technology, information technology and construction fields.
The project, titled Bridging the Gap, will be implemented by the state’s nine public community and technical colleges. WVU Parkersburg will receive more than $3 million over a three-year period.
WVU Parkersburg recently hired Jeff Olson as its institutional transformation leader to manage the college’s portion of the grant. He will serve as the liaison for the project and manage other personnel hired as part of the grant.
Olson earned his bachelor degree from WVU in sociology and anthropology in 1994 and went on to earn his master’s in education administration and leadership from WVU in 1997. Most recently he worked as the community health educator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department in Parkersburg, W.Va. and as an adjunct instructor Ohio Valley University. Prior to that, he served WVU Extension as program director for Family Nutrition Programs. He has extensive experience in grant writing and grant administration.
“It is a pleasure to be working on this project for WVU Parkersburg,” said Olson. “The college’s history of excellence makes it an ideal institution to transform and meet the growing needs of the Mid-Ohio Valley.”
WVU Parkersburg has also hired Kristin Sloter as its new technology transformation leader. She will also serve as a liaison for the state’s Bridging the Gap project and will play large role in implementation. Sloter support consortium-level technology projects, including developing a web-based degree audit framework and a predictive data analytics system to improve retention and credential completion.
Sloter holds a bachelor degree in education from Marietta College and a master’s in instructional technology from Notre Dame. Formerly she worked for Wood County Schools as a technology integration specialist. Initially in her career she taught at St. Mary’s School in Marietta, Ohio.
“We are thrilled to have Jeff and Kristin on board. This project will play an integral role in creating a stronger workforce for West Virginia,” said Dr. Rhonda Tracy, interim president for WVU Parkersburg. “The economic development opportunities developing in our region require specific skillsets, and our goal is to produce students and graduates who meet industry needs.”