WVU Parkersburg awarded grant to start new entrepreneurial technology program

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The West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS) has awarded West Virginia University at Parkersburg $220,000 to launch an entrepreneurial technology degree program. The associate of applied science (AAS) program and the certificate of applied science (CAS) will provide valuable hands-on experience to business owners and individuals looking to start their own business.

Through this new program, WVU Parkersburg will develop students who will use technology as an avenue for realizing their entrepreneurial capacities. A concentration has been embedded with the AAS and CAS programs in social media and application (app) development to provide real-world skills that can be outsourced to a variety of industries, agencies, businesses and venues throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley region and beyond.

“The innovative curriculum uses project-based learning to enable aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to design and develop their own businesses in a creative atmosphere,” said Dr. Rhonda Tracy, senior vice president for academic affairs. “Future plans include employing the use of our Downtown Center to serve as the catalyst for entrepreneurship activities.”

Students will gain first-hand experience by collaborating with locally established entrepreneurs who are using technology in job-related markets. WVU Parkersburg is also researching the development of an LLC to provide students paid internships.

WVU Parkersburg is also currently partnering with the City University of New York’s Institute for Virtual Enterprise to implement a West Virginia Technical Assistance Broadband grant. The Virtual Enterprise is a university institute that designs and administers active-learning programs introducing students to entrepreneurship.

The grant intends to utilize CUNY’s Virtual Enterprise approach to provide students with virtual entrepreneurship training. Through the Virtual Enterprise, students develop realistic, commercially viable projects in the classroom. Students are guided through the process of forming and running a simulated business related to their discipline.

Representatives of the WVU Parkersburg Business and Economics division traveled to New York City last summer to receive training with the Virtual Enterprise tool. WVU Parkersburg hopes to implement the Virtual Enterprise on the main campus and in the college’s Downtown Center in the near future.

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