FAIRMONT, Virginia (WV News) – The Marion County Tech Center continues to provide training to students of all ages to prepare them for the job market despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The center, located next to North Marion High School, offers 11 different simulated workplaces, ranging from nursing and marketing to auto body repair, welding and electrical work. Due to the nature of the work, students who use the center can work at their stations despite the pandemic, allowing them to continue their learning in the best possible way.
Jay Michael, director of the Marion County Technical Center, said the school offers students a major advantage upon graduation.
âThe big advantage is that these students can come out of here ready to work,â said Michael. âFor example, I will use our electrical program. When they end up here, they have the opportunity to adjust to their mate and come out of here ready to work. â¦ Our children are ready to do it when they get out of here. These students are ready to work when they step into the real world. They can go to university or enter the job market directly.
Donna Costello, a member of the Marion County School Board, echoed the importance of the center and said there are job markets that practically demand fresh and skilled workers.
âThese are blue collar jobs, and that’s where I come from,â Costello said. âThis is where the need is when it comes to workers. There are programs that are offered there like welding and electrical, and the focus is on health care workers. â¦ These children can move directly from their training, once they have worked their hours and obtained their certification, into working life in well-paying jobs. …
â(The center receives) calls every day to ask them if they have someone (to come to work). This is where there is a shortage of skilled labor. College isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.
While people of all ages attend the center, most of its 350 students are enrolled in one of the county’s three high schools. Michael said attending classes at the technical center opens up more opportunities for students after graduation.
âThere are so many jobs that don’t require a college education, and we don’t have people trained to get those types of jobs,â Michael said. âIf you’re looking for someone to work on your furnace or your air conditioning right now, you’re going to look and you’re going to be put on a waiting list. In a technical center, the children are ready to go out and do this work.
The technical center is also in partnership with Pierpont Community & Technical College, and students can travel to Pierpont directly after completing their work and get a head start on a degree.
âThey’re about a semester or a year ahead of your average student who would just finish high school on a typical schedule,â Michael said.
Michael, who attended North Marion High School in the 1990s, said he wanted to pay more attention to the tech center when he was in school, and he hopes current and future high schoolers will benefit from it all. that the Marion County Tech Center has to offer. .
âI didn’t know everything we were doing here and what opportunities were here,â said Michael. âOver time the children have become more aware of what is going on here. â¦ We have a world class nursing program here. Here we have a math teacher, an English teacher, and a marketing teacher. There are jobs and careers here that have not been publicized. …
âYou might want to get into accounting. Well, here’s a great start for you. If you want to get into marketing, we’ve got a good start here to get you a head start.
Fairmont News Editor-in-Chief John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or [email protected]