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SPECIAL REPORT: Retraining can help people find new jobs or advance in careers

There are several organizations in the region helping train people who are looking to find new jobs or make advancement in their careers. (WCHS/WVAH)

If you're stuck in a dead end job and want a new career or just want to advance your skills, there are many retraining opportunities out there.

Skills needed for every job are always changing, especially in manufacturing.

“You're never doing the same thing twice,” said Mark Johnson.

That’s why Mark Johnson, who works for Covestro, decided to advance his career by retraining at BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

“You may be a the val one day, may be on a level or a radar the next day and all through the same day it could always change. It's always different, it's challenging and the technology if you don't stay up with it, you get left behind it," Johnson said.

Manufacturing is a growing, broad industry - from automotive to chemical to energy - and it requires a wealth of skills with technology continuously advancing. Nearly 50,000 West Virginians are working for manufacturing companies. Employees always have to be on their toes and ready to learn new skills.

Whether you need a new job or want to better yourself, retraining might be a good choice for you.

“In today's manufacturing world, advanced technology plays such a critical role in addition to practicing safe standards and creating a safe environment in the manufacturing plant. Training becomes important because we are looking at a different skill set than we did when our fathers were manufacturers," President of West Virginia Manufacturers Association, Rebecca McPhail, said.

The West Virginia Manufacturers Association represents manufacturers statewide and teaches people, as young as middle schoolers, what it takes to get into this type of career.

“There are a lot of unique options in the state through the community and tech college system. There are a lot of regional programs based on the particular manufacturing needs in those areas but also things like our skilled trades and our unions offer apprentice programs and other ways, even some online courses," McPhail said.

Manpower has training you can take online for all types of jobs.

BridgeValley has several hands-on, manufacturing programs, including a program called Advanced Manufacturing Technology where students work for companies like Toyota and still go to classes.

“A lot of the jobs in manufacturing now require more skills than you get in high school. They require some advanced skills like electrical, mechanical, controls, robotics, instrumentation, so forth. So we provide that technical training that folks would need to be able to land some of the technician jobs or make them more stable in their current position or to reposition themselves in the industry,” said Jeff Wyco, who is the Senior Vice President of Workforce Development and Advanced Technology at BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

Students in these programs can tell you it’s an opportunity that’s worth it in the end.

“You better yourself, you're being a better employee at the same time, the more knowledge you got the more valuable you are," Johnson said.

“They’re jobs that last a lifetime and a lot these allows someone to further their education as well," Wyco said.

If you are interested in manufacturing programs, contact BridgeValley Community and Technical College ATC Staff at 304-205-6741. You may also apply online with a few of Learn and Earn programs at the following links:

- http://www.bridgevalley.edu/bridgevalley-amt-application

- http://www.bridgevalley.edu/gestamp-application

If you are interested in online training courses through Manpower, go find out more online here. You can also register with Manpower online.


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