A core component to keeping West Virginia progressive involves matching the skills of our workforce with the needs of business.

West Virginia's Community and Technical College programs are discovering that forming partnerships and sustaining dialogue with committed individuals and businesses, is strengthening our ability to stay globally competitive.

I recently had the opportunity to join officials for two very important announcements that I believe will help broaden our skilled workforce development and continue to build a solid path for West Virginia's current and future workforce.

At New River Community and Technical College, I was pleased to take part in the "Blueprint for Progress" property deed transfer from the Division of Highways to New River. The new acquisition for New River helped solve a looming capacity concern faced at the school and also provided the space for what will soon be a new state-of-the-art technology and distance learning unit.

Also, I had the privilege to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the partnership between Blue Ridge Community and Technical College and Allegheny Power. What started out as a conversation between a few individuals, evolved into an agreement between education and business, meant to align the skills of the student with the desires of Allegheny. Allegheny has truly come to the table with Blue Ridge CTC, providing finances, equipment and many hours to design a new electric distribution technology curriculum, tailored to match their production needs.

In addition to the good work that is taking place at New River and Blue Ridge CTC's, the diesel technology program implemented at the Community and Technical College at WVU Tech has given business the chance to lure more skilled workers to meet their demands. This high-level job training is mutually beneficial, providing the business with a skilled worker and the employee with a livable wage.

Another essential branch of our technical training is in the Allied Health field. The Community and Technical College System is currently working on a plan that will allow additional students to enroll in medical, surgical, respiratory, and clinical studies programs throughout the state. Allied Health workers will continue to play a crucial role in meeting citizen health needs.

We will continue to stay aggressive in adding depth to Community and Technical College development. It is my hope that business and education will continue to engage in conversations that I feel will open up more partnerships, business endeavors and new economic successes.

Many people have made a concerted effort to advance our Community and Technical programs. I commend the work of the Community and Technical College System, state and local officials, business investors and the students for your commitment to West Virginia.

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