Training center to provide new opportunities

Industry and development officials say the Ohio Valley will be in need of approximately 3,500 skilled welders in the coming years in order to meet the needs of a growing natural gas industry.

The problem now is there currently are not enough residents to fill those prospective jobs, even if individuals are encouraged to move here for some of those opportunities. That’s why it has become even more important for our local educational outlets to develop more industrial-focused coursework.

A big step toward a solution for the problem was announced this week as the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and West Virginia Northern Community College unveiled plans to develop a new training center in Weirton particularly focused on welding programs.

The project received support from WesBanco, which contributed $5,000 toward the effort.

WVNCC has been working for some time with our local high schools, and those programs look to be growing. With the training center, there now will be an opportunity for those who may be looking to continue previous education, or maybe even step onto a new career path, to receive certification. College officials say there will be a tiered setup for the curriculum, with students able to go through as many levels of certification as they feel necessary.

As natural gas continues to have an impact, and hopefully other industries make their way into our region, new educational programs will be needed to provide opportunities for our residents looking for employment.

Hopefully, this is just the first step of many such programs as we continue to reshape the future of the Ohio Valley.

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