Dr. Chris Gilmer, president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, was recently selected as a representative of the Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA) to attend the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Workforce Development Institute 2019 in San Diego, Calif.
Dr. Gilmer joined nearly 100 college presidents and hundreds of workforce development leaders from around the nation in a dialogue about apprenticeships, internships, conversion of non-credit training programs into credit-bearing programs, grant opportunities, credentialing of employees, equity and inclusion and other timely topics in the field of workforce development. He was also selected as a new president scholarship recipient to the Institute by CCA.
Veteran presidents from around the nation and other workforce leaders highlighted exemplary workforce development programs that can be replicated and adapted by institutions such as WVU Parkersburg. Sessions also featured an opportunity to hear from federal funders including the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Michelson 20MM Foundation, instructional technology partners like IBM, and experts in rural higher education such as Dr. Anne McNutt, CCA executive director, and Dr. Randy Smith, president of the Rural Community College Alliance. Dr. Walter Bumphus, AACC’s president, convened the gathering.
“Workforce development is such an important part of what we do at WVU Parkersburg,” said Dr. Gilmer. “With the goal of getting workforce credentials into the hands of more and more West Virginians, and with an increased demand by local employers for highly qualified employees, this is becoming an even sharper focus for WVU Parkersburg. The institute was a great opportunity to meet national leaders in this field and to renew friendships with AACC leaders with whom we will be increasing our participation this year.”
He added, “It was an honor to represent CCA, and I am deeply thankful they selected me as a registration and travel scholarship recipient so that I could bring the valuable insights of this conference home to our communities without having to stretch the college’s resources to do so. We have a great workforce development team, and they are working hard every day to increase educational attainment and to promote job skills in the Mid-Ohio Valley.”