West Virginia Executive Spring 2017 - Page 66

Statewide Campaign Aims to Educate Students About Manufacturing Industry Representatives of Explore the New Manufacturing, a statewide manufacturing education campaign, gave presentations at middle schools throughout the state this past school year, educating students and teachers about the manufacturing industry in West Virginia. The West Virginia Manufacturers As- sociation Educational Fund (WVMAEF), a program of the West Virginia Manufac- turers Association (WVMA), launched the campaign in 2015 to create awareness about the state’s thriving industry—made up of more than 1,100 companies and 55,000 employees—and spark student interest in the field. “It’s important for students to learn about the industry and how it impacts West Virginia’s economy,” says Rebecca McPhail, WVMA president. “There are several educational options for high school graduates who want to pursue careers in manufacturing. Some students won’t attend a four-year college or university, and they don’t have to in order to get a great-paying job right here at home. We want to be sure they are aware of these opportunities at an earlier age so if they’re interested, they can best prepare in high school.” Explore the New Manufacturing campaign representatives have present- ed to more than 4,000 students and 500 teachers, principals and administrators throughout West Virginia since the cam- paign’s inception. They also participate in career fairs and industry-related and STEM-focused activities and events. Southern West Virginia Moves Forward with Building a FABLAB A network of more than 100 local business owners called REBUILD.REVIVE. THRIVE. has partnered with the Center for Applied Research and Technology and the City of Bluefield on a groundbreak- ing project to create a regional FABLAB. FABLABs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Bits and Atoms. The FABLAB will provide access to the hardware and software needed to make almost anything, positively impacting the Bluefield com- munity by creating job opportunities, Business by Design with Transform the Look, Feel & Workflow of Your Office • Complete Series of bizhub Networked Copier/Printers • Color, Black & White • Multifunctional Fax & Scan • Software & Network Solutions Call TODAY! 304-744-7440 or 1-888-483-7440 500 D Street South Charleston, WV 304-744-7440 64 WEST VIRGINIA EXECUTIVE 3135 16th Street Road Suite 14 Huntington, WV 304-781-7440 resources for entrepreneurs and career retraining. “Through this initiative, we will be working to increase the quality labor supply—West Virginia is currently last in the nation in this category—and give marketable skills to a community with only 19.6 percent college attainment,” says Travis Lowe, pastor and founder of REBUILD.REVIVE.THRIVE. The FABLAB will operate out of the Commercialization Station, a new man- ufacturing incubator being developed by the City of Bluefield. Plans are being made to offer the lab as a training center for local middle schools, high schools and colleges. It will also offer classes for adults interested in being trained in a new field and as a training site for local business- es. The FABLAB plans to open its doors this summer. RCBI Recognized as National Apprenticeship Leader The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) has been recognized for its innovative work- force development effort that focuses on registered apprenticeships. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded RCBI the ApprenticeshipUSA Leader designation for developing and delivering apprenticeship education that meets the needs of employers and em- ployees. This acknowledgement places RCBI in the top ranks of more than 160 businesses, educational institutions and labor organizations from across the U.S. that emphasize the value of apprentice- ships and encourage greater adoption of the workforce strategy. “This recognition highlights the role RCBI plays in educating workers and our extreme dedication to changing West Virginia’s manufacturing landscape,” says Charlotte Weber, RCBI director and CEO. “We’re pleased that our innovative model is contributing to a resurgent industry that continues to drive our economy.” RCBI is home to Apprenticeship Works, the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership. Working with organizations and businesses across the country, Apprenticeship Works makes apprenticeship programs more affordable and more accessible. “RCBI is proud to be named an Appren- ticeshipUSA Leader,” says Lucinda Curry, director of Apprenticeship Works. “Each day, we see the value of apprenticeships in