WVNCC receives Dominion grant

WHEELING – West Virginia Northern Community College became the recipient of $25,000 from the Dominion Foundation on Tuesday.

After providing the college with $50,000 more than one year ago for the purchase of a simulator used in the Mechatronics program that trains electrical and mechanical maintenance technicians, the Dominion Foundation approved a second grant for WVNCC. This time, the money is intended for the college’s new petroleum technology program that trains workers for the growing oil and gas industry in the state.

Specifically, the grant will go toward the purchase of equipment for petroleum technology classes that are being taught in the college’s recently opened Applied Technology Center on Market Street at the downtown Wheeling campus.

Martin J. Olshinsky, WVNCC president, expressed appreciation for the monetary gift, stating the school is “most grateful to Dominion for its continued support.”

“We are paralleled and partnered,” Olshinsky said of WVNCC’s relationship with the oil and gas industry and Dominion Resources, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy.

Olshinsky said the petroleum technology program’s relevance is “very strong” due to the oil and gas industry’s prevalence in the area.

“The program is an opportunity for us to meet job demands,” he said.

WVNCC is one of two community colleges in West Virginia to offer petroleum technology. WVNCC and Pierpont Community and Technical College have joint programs that utilize the Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center in Fairmont.

Pierpont and WVNCC will be equipped with indoor drilling simulators for students, while collaborative training will be available on the outdoor drilling simulator located at the center in Fairmont.

Robert C. Orndorff, Dominion’s managing director for West Virginia state and local affairs, said the connection between higher education institutions and the gas and oil industry is significant.

“We like to put our money where the jobs are,” Orndorff said. “We have a rich history of working as a corporation in West Virginia. It is important for us to give back.”