WVU Parkersburg and Constellium hold 2023 Skilled Trades Signing Ceremony for 13 students
Parkersburg, W.Va. (June 23, 2023) — Public officials, students, and their loved ones gathered at Constellium in Ravenswood, W.Va., as 13 students received scholarships into the Skilled Trades Scholarship Program on Friday.
The Skilled Trades Scholarship Program is a collaboration between Constellium and WVU Parkersburg, which provides scholarships to selected students to help them earn a college degree and gain employment in a skilled trades job. Students may choose to complete an Associate of Applied Science degree in Multi-Craft Technology or Reliability and Maintenance Technology offered through WVU Parkersburg. After completing their associate degree, students will commit to employment with Constellium for at least five years as part of the scholarship requirements.
Constellium CEO Buddy Stemple said the program helps Constellium retain future employees while also being beneficial to students.
“They’re going to have a two-year associate degree, totally paid for, with a job. And they get to stay in the state of West Virginia, we’re losing far too many young people,” said Stemple after the ceremony. “So I think it’s just a win-win all the way around.”
The 13 area students selected for the scholarship program are:
Austin Balis, Ripley High School
William Conrad, Wirt County High School
Joah Defren, Ripley High School
Tannar Ebos, Ravenswood High School
Ethan Fry, Ravenswood High School
Nicholas Hill, Ripley High School
David Moore Jr., Ripley High School
Drake Smith, Roane High School
Hunter Brown, Ripley High School
Isaiah Casto, Ripley High School
Alec Marshall, Parkersburg South High School
Austin Starcher, Wirt County High School
Alec Vance, Ripley High School
Scholarship recipients are selected based on criteria such as grade point average, school attendance, letters of recommendation, and an interview process.
During the ceremony, WVU Parkersburg President Dr. Torie Jackson gave thanks for the partnership between WVUP and Constellium, as well as encouraged students on their upcoming journey that lies ahead.
“We’re very excited for this partnership. Students, we have free tutoring, we have lots of supports for you as we go along this journey,” said Jackson. “In every educational journey, people look for the light at the end of the tunnel. You start yours knowing what job will be yours after you complete your education. And, along the way, you will have the support of WVUP and Constellium to allow you to get there successfully.”
Vice Chancellor at the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia Chris Treadway discussed why community college educations are better than a four-year degree. He said community colleges can uniquely form relationships with employers and meet their needs.
“You couldn’t have picked a better place than WVUP to start on this journey, it’s such a supportive team, and we’re so proud of them and the work they do,” said Treadway, during the ceremony. “If you ever need anything, if you ever feel like you’re stressed or overwhelmed, don’t let it get to you just ask one of the folks at WVUP — that’s what they specialize in.”
Other speakers included representatives from Governor Jim Justice, Senator Shelley Moore-Capito, Senator Joe Manchin — all expressing how the partnership should be a model for employment practices.
WV Secretary of Economic Development Mitch Carmichael also gave remarks, noting how special plants like Constellium are to a local economy and reminding the crowd that his journey began because of the wages his father made at a Jackson County plant.
Constellium supplies aluminum and operates in markets such as aerospace, automotive, construction, packaging, renewable energy and transportation worldwide. They have several government and military contracts and are instrumental in providing aluminum products for rockets built for the United States.