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Industrial training center announced in Weirton

ANNOUNCEMENT — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin joined with officials from West Virginia Northern Community College and the Business Development Corp., Monday, to announce plans for a new training center to be established in downtown Weirton. Pictured, from left, are BDC board members Mike Swartzmiller and Mike Wehr; Manchin; Larry Tackett, vice president of economic and workforce development at WVNCC; and Jon Rogers, BDC board member. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Along with the rise of new industries in the region comes a need to educate those hoping to find employment through the jobs being created in the Ohio Valley.

A project announced Monday is aimed at helping meet some of that need with the creation of a new training center in downtown Weirton.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined officials with West Virginia Northern Community College and the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle to unveil plans for the new center, to be located at 114 Lee Ave.

“It’s going to be a training center for future jobs,” Mike Swartzmiller, BDC board member, said. “We’re really excited.”

Current plans are to begin by offering welding programs at the new training center, which will be operated by WVNCC.

PLANS IN PLACE — A rendering of the building on Lee Avenue in Weirton shows plans for the exterior of the new training center to be operated by West Virginia Northern Community College. -- Contributed

Noting there is a high demand for welders across the country, Manchin said it will be a perfect way for the training center to start, by making sure people receive the training they need for the jobs that are available.

“We know everyone who goes through this certification will get a job,” Manchin said.

The floor plan for the project indicates a welding area with 20 workstations, a space for tool and equipment storage, as well as flex space and men’s and women’s locker rooms. There also will be office space, a classroom and conference area.

The project will require the construction of a new entrance area, with indications of the installation of an elevator.

Larry Tackett, vice president of economic and workforce development at WVNCC, noted the new training center will provide full academic opportunities, including one- and two-year certification and degree programs, as well as short-term training.

He also noted the building will allow the addition of training programs for other skills in the future.

“There’s room to do expansion,” Tackett said. “There’s room to grow here.”

As previously announced, the BDC also had acquired the neighboring property fronting on Main Street known as the Magnone Building. That structure will be torn down to provide parking for the training center.

Swartzmiller estimated the project to cost around $3 million.

Part of the funding includes $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce, a portion of the more than $7 million announced in Scott Depot, W.Va., Monday by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and John Fleming, assistant secretary of economic development for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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