SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — BridgeValley Community and Technical College and Toyota Manufacturing, W.Va. announced the naming of Toyota Hall Friday at a ceremony for the Advanced Technology Center of South Central West Virginia.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, BridgeValley President Dr. Jo Harris, Toyota W.Va. President Millie Marshall, and Chancellor Jim Skidmore of the W.Va. Community and Technical College System all participated in the unveiling celebration.
The unveiling of Toyota Hall took place on the Mar. 20 Founder’s Day celebration of BridgeValley’s inaugural year.
Toyota invested over $1 million that will support ATC’s mission and BridgeValley’s commitment to manufacturing education along with their continued development and sustainability. The naming was in recognition of Toyota’s support.
Toyota and BridgeValley launched the Advanced Manufacturing Technician associate degree program in 2012. The program combines a curriculum with paid working experience from hands on work at a world-class manufacturer. The students attend classes at ATC for two days per week and work three days per week at the Buffalo plant.
Cody Cunningham, a student at BridgeValley, said the partnership between the college and Toyota is beneficial.
“The biggest thing being it is Toyota – a world class manufacturer. You’re getting two years experience while going to school from Toyota. I mean, that’s top of the line right there,” said Cunningham.
Before joining the program, Cunningham thought it was important to hear feedback from other students. He said the naming announcement of the hall is an important way to draw more students to joining the program.
Cunningham takes a variety of classes at BridgeValley, so he can apply what he knows while working at the Buffalo plant.
“We take everything from pneumatics, hydraulics, PLCs (programmable logic controller), electrical controls, and electronics. We even take welding classes,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham said, for example, students working at the plant get to change out hydraulic pumps on machines, after learning about what they need to know in their hydraulics class.
Toyota W.Va. President Millie Marshall said the education and training students get to complete will lay the foundation for them to receive well-paying jobs anywhere in the United States.