SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Tuesday he believes workforce training is picking up the needed momentum it needs in the Mountain State.
Tomblin made the comment just after he stood before a large crowd for a ribbon cutting ceremony at BridgeValley Community and Technical College’s Advance Technology Center at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston.
“It’s just amazing to see this new Advanced Technology Center, the kind of equipment they have in here, the kind of training that’s offered,” Tomblin said. “In today’s world those are the kinds of hands-on skills that our employees need for the jobs we have now.”
The center will provide training for the chemical and manufacturing industries.
Gov. Tomblin said it’s just what he’s been talking about for the past three-and-a-half years.
“There are so many jobs now that you can get with and associate’s degree or a certificate,” Tomblin said.
Toyota Manufacturing of West Virginia announced Tuesday it was pledging $1 million to the center over the next five years. It will make an in-kind donation of equipment. It’s total donation will top $1.2 million.
“That just shows that businesses are willing to step up. They are telling our community and technical college presidents, ‘These are the kind of training programs that we need to be successful businessmen and women in West Virginia,’ and I think we are rising to that occasion,” Tomblin said.
A trained workforce is a key component moving forward especially in the natural gas industry with the possibility of a cracker plant being built near Parkersburg.
“Most downstream industries is exactly where all of these jobs are going to be,” the governor predicted. “And once again it takes a specific kind of training to do today and tomorrow’s jobs.”
Tomblin spent the afternoon at the technology park, the former Dow Tech Center. He attended a meeting focused on STEM education and helped cut the ribbon for the new Bridge Road Bistro Express opening there.