GLADE SPRINGS, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Jay Rockefeller today joined manufacturing and community and technical college executives to announce an innovative education-to-work Advanced Manufacturing Technician program. The curriculum will become the cornerstone of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association's new education initiative, the West Virginia Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, or WV FAME. The announcement was made during the WVMA Annual Meeting at Glade Springs.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia and Bridgemont Community and Technical College have teamed up to create the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program
. The program combines a cutting-edge curriculum, paid work experience, and instruction in highly sought after business principles and best practices from a world-class manufacturer that results in a two-year associate degree from Bridgemont. Twenty students will be selected for the inaugural class.
"This type of public-private partnership helps West Virginia's manufacturing industry thrive. The partnership between Toyota, Bridgemont and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association will provide excellent opportunities for students and will become a model for others to follow," said Gov. Tomblin.
"The new Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician program is more great news for West Virginia's workers, and demonstrates the innovative thinking among our high-tech manufacturers and our educational institutions," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller. "Innovation is laying the foundation for a new generation of manufacturing jobs in West Virginia, and I'm so impressed by the partnership between Toyota and Bridgemont Community and Technical College, and Kureha's participation. Training our workers for the jobs of the future has long been one of my top priorities. Just this year I met with community and technical college presidents, and visited again the high-tech manufacturing at Toyota and Alcon to draw attention to efforts to better align workforce training with employer needs. I commend Governor Tomblin for his leadership in creating opportunities for our manufacturing sector, and for the hard work that the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association are doing for our students and our workers."
"Innovative curriculum such as the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program helps advance economic development efforts and provide great opportunities for our students to enter high-wage occupations," said Jim Skidmore, Chancellor of the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia. "Increasing the education attainment rates of West Virginians is vital because as our highly-skilled technical workforce grows, so do the prospects for new industries and new jobs across the state."
"Students selected into the program will earn a wage while attending college and gain priceless work experience with a global manufacturing leader," said Bridgemont President Jo Harris. "Students will attend classes two full days a week and work three full days at Toyota's manufacturing facility in Buffalo at a starting salary of $17.78 per hour. They must maintain a 'C' or higher grade in all classes to be retained in the exclusive program."
"Over five semesters, students can earn as much as $40,000 in salary, with planning, can cover all of the student's education expenses," noted Yoji "Yogi" Suzuki, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia.
Bridgemont Community and Technical College's tuition is $146 per credit hour, plus fees, or approximately $1,950 per semester.
"While not guaranteed a full-time job at Toyota following graduation, graduates could be hired by the company; continue their education in engineering, technology or business; or pursue employment opportunities in the open job market," said Karen Price, president of the WVMA. "Other manufacturing companies will be seeking employees with this high level of experience and training."
Kureha PGA, another Japanese company which recently opened a new plant in Belle, has joined the program and is expected to take one Bridgemont intern this year.
Along with Bridgemont's application for admission, participating companies will review and select potential students on the following criteria:
- Academic success as measured through grades and class rank
- Math capability as measured through ACT or SAT scores (minimum of 19 ACT)
- Participation in Project Lead The Way (PLTW) as measured by the number of courses taken and the grades earned (PLTW is not required, but improves chances of selection)
- Commitment to remaining absolutely illegal drug-free
For more information or to apply to the program, go to www.bridgemont.edu.
Amy Shuler Goodwin