Jama L. Jarrett
Each year, as a part of federal funding through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the State of West Virginia receives funds that may be “set aside” for special use of distribution by the governor.
These targeted funds from the U.S. Department of Labor allow the state to explore innovative training solutions for educating and preparing workers in-demand occupations.
With the help of participating colleges and universities, and through private training, new and enhanced training approaches focus on specific needs of targeted groups of clients that include youth, adults, dislocated workers and incumbent workers.
An employment-based skills trades program, “Step-Up for Women” from West Virginia Women Work!, gives many low-income single parents, heads of households, veterans and individuals released from correctional facilities, the ability to enter a true career alternative.
This program provides participants high-wage occupational opportunities that lead to economic self-sufficiency.
Women Work! was awarded a 2009-2010 set-aside grant to train and obtain employment for 28 people.
Francine Peters is enthusiastic about her experiences and training with the Step-Up program.
According to Peters this program helped her develop self confidence, and helps women of all backgrounds to become more independent.
After completion of the Step-Up program, Peters successfully passed her carpentry test and obtained interviews with the Carpenter’s Union and the Steelworker’s Union. She is now employed as a steelworker making more than $20 per hour.
UMWA Career Center, Inc.
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Career Center has established a new miner training program with various levels of instruction for persons interested in coal mining as a career.
The program trains youth, adults and dislocated WIA-eligible participants in coal-mining practices, as well as increases occupational skills and emphasizes workplace safety.
The UMWA Career Center was awarded a 2009-2010 set-aside grant to train and obtain employment for 45 people.
Duke Messer came to the UMWA Career Center after being laid off from a local mine equipment repair center. Messer, an experienced welder, was concerned that he would not be able to find work that provided the standard of living to which his family was accustomed.
Training staff said Messer proved to be one of the best students with his work ethic and productiveness.
While attending class he actively sought potential employment opportunities in the coal industry. At the completion of the program, Messer acquired a job as an electrical apprenticeship earning more than $20 per hour.
Randolph County Housing Authority
The Randolph County Housing Authority (RCHA) provides job training and alternative education activities for at-risk, out-of-school youth through YouthBuild North Central (YBNC), a comprehensive youth and community development program.
The program focuses on alternative education, emphasizes in-demand occupations and recruits high-risk youth, such as high school dropouts and individuals with criminal backgrounds.
RCHA was awarded a 2009-2010 set-aside grant to train and obtain employment for 11 people.
The program offers classes in adult basic education and green technology, and includes an on-the-job training component.
On-site construction properties include the Daniels House, the Arbogast Building and the Delmonte Hotel.
Many of the students have stated that the skills they have learned and the tasks performed have changed and stabilized their lives. Some have even expressed an interest in attending college after completing the YouthBuild program.