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BridgeValley South Charleston Campus

Department of Labor grants BridgeValley CTC $1.4M to help workers transition to tech fields

BridgeValley Community and Technical college has been awarded a $1.4M grant by the United States Department of Labor to launch the institution’s Appalachians Training for Employment in Technology (ATET) initiative.

ATET aims to help workers earn an associate degree in advanced manufacturing technology or information technology, opening up opportunities for graduates to pursue well-paying, high-quality jobs.

These graduates will be prepared to take on in-demand positions, such as software developer, computer systems analyst, information security analyst, industrial machinery mechanic, mechatronics technician and industrial controls technician. These jobs pay an average of between $60,000 and $80,000 annually.

ATET will serve 210 students over the 36-month grant period with a focus on nontraditional and rural students, Black students, women, and veterans. The initiative will also serve students in recovery from substance misuse and those impacted by the state’s opioid crisis.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for West Virginians who want to enter a field with a high wage,” said Norm Mortensen, Dean of Technology at BridgeValley. “And as we tackle the substance misuse crisis in our region, we hope to help those on the road to recovery learn a new field and find meaningful, potentially life-altering work.”

The project provides built-in, comprehensive support for each student, including help with financial needs, tutoring assistance, academic coaching, and career advising.

ATET will also work with regional industry to address greatest needs in the technology workforce and place graduates into open positions. Program administrators will work with Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Gestamp, Associated Systems Professionals, the Workforce Development Board of Kanawha County, the West Virginia Office of Technology, the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services, Hope Community Development Corporation, Charleston Jobs Corps, Goodwill Industries, Jobs & Hope, Recovery Point and Healing House to recruit, support, and place students.

“This is a community focused project that was created and powered by a wide-ranging organizational network. We’re proud to have so many phenomenal partners and excited to see this come together across our region,” said James McDougle, Dean of Students.

ATET is one funded project in a multi-state, $34.4 million partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional authority. The grants issued will improve access to training and jobs in the technology sector in Appalachia and the lower Mississippi Delta region. BridgeValley’s $1,441,280 portion of the project will serve students in Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Raleigh and Wayne counties.

Those interested in applying should contact BridgeValley’s Admissions department.