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New River Community and Technical College
"Poised to Become a Giant in Workforce Education"

November 2010 - Beckley, West Virginia

Community and technical colleges are truly West Virginia’s promise for the future,” stated New River Community and Technical College (New River) President Ted D. Spring, Ph.D. during his comments at the ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the college’s new Education and Technical Training Center. The event attracted hundreds of government, education, business and industry leaders from across West Virginia. “The addition of our new Education and Technical Training Center will significantly change the economic landscape of southern West Virginia,” says Spring. “New River is now poised to become a giant in workforce education.”

Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the New River Education and Technical Training Center were (L-R) Senator Bill Laird, Board of Governors member Al Martine; Delegate William Wooton; New River President Emeritus David Perkins; BOG members Robert Farley and David Nalker; Delegate Sally Susman; President Ted D. Spring; Congressman Nick J. Rahall, Senators Mike Green and Richard Browning; Col. Ralph Kelly (partially obscured), member of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education; Tom Hughes, CEO of HSC Industrial; Delegate Linda Sumner and Steve Pilato, regional representative for West Virginia Governor Manchin. Photo by Rick Barbero

The 93,000-square-foot building was built seven years ago as a manufacturing facility for modular homes. Located in Ghent, West Virginia, the center is set on 23 surrounding buildable acres on the border of Raleigh and Mercer counties in the heart of New River’s nine-county service area with easy access to Interstate 77.

According to William Loope, Vice President for Workforce Education and Institutional Advancement, the New River Education and Technical Training Center will focus its training programs on 12 key industry segments. They are mining and energy, weatherization, hospitality and leisure, green buildings systems, manufacturing, line service mechanic, HVAC, CDL, heavy equipment operator, welding and pipe welding, horticulture/landscaping, automotive and diesel technology and GIS-surveying. Loope adds that the center is responsive to workforce needs in the region and will help support southeastern West Virginia as a destination for new business and, more importantly, strengthen the college’s services to long-standing business partners throughout the region.

New River has been leasing the building for several months and now has approval from the West Virginia Community and Technical Education Council to purchase it with a $3.3 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with the assistance of West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin. U.S. Congressman Rahall (D-W.Va.) is working to secure an additional $600,000 in federal funds for the project.

“Here, New River will be training workers who will be employed statewide in understanding that building is more than just about hammers and nails,” explained Rahall during the dedication’s keynote address. “Building energy efficient homes and offices involves science, art and technical expertise that traditionally had been passed down from generation to generation. Today we bring the best of the best to the table to blend all three and produce a highly-skilled workforce using advanced technologies.”

Following the ceremony, guests got a sneak preview of an Advanced Energy and Technology Expo sponsored by the college on Oct. 30. The expo featured a broad spectrum of vendors in energy and high technology fields. The timing of the expo coincided with the observance of Weatherization Day, which Governor Manchin proclaimed for Oct. 30.

“New River is committed to the continuation of training the coal workers of West Virginia as well as building skills in the auxiliary energy fields such as oil, gas, wind, geothermal and photovoltaic technologies. In addition to these initiatives, we are also contracted by the WV Division of Energy to facilitate regional meetings to encourage the adoption and enforcement of energy codes in local jurisdictions,” Loope says. “The expo was our opportunity to showcase our training programs which will lead successful participants into high-paying jobs.”

New River Community and Technical College is a multi-campus institution with administrative headquarters in Beckley. The college serves a nine-county region encompassing Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers and Webster counties in southeastern West Virginia from four campuses: Beckley, Greenbrier Valley (Lewisburg), Mercer County (Princeton) and Nicholas County (Summersville).

“New River serves as an excellent model of how today's community colleges should operate,” notes Ms. Christine Anderson, Senior Vice President for the Clements Group and New River’s campaign consultant. “The new Education and Technical Training Center is a perfect example. This facility will help meet many of the workforce needs in southeastern West Virginia. Thank goodness for New River!”

The Clements Group conducted a feasibility study for New River Community and Technical College in 2008 and Ms. Christine Anderson, CG Senior Vice President, is currently serving as New River's campaign counsel. For additional information contact William Loope, Vice President for Workforce Education and Institutional Advancement, wloope@newriver.edu.

November 2010

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