Business and education leaders come together to make sure W.Va. students are ‘ready’

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dr. Amelia Courts, the President and CEO for The Education Alliance is calling Tuesday a great day for students in West Virginia.

During a press conference that morning, she made two announcements stemming from the collaboration between her organization and Leadership West Virginia: WV Ready Graduate Initiative and WV Ready Internship Program.

These two programs are to make sure that high school students are ‘ready’ for success in the career path they choose.

“We think it’s a great day for West Virginia students,” Courts said. “We think it can provide some life-changing opportunities.

“We are so appreciative to be apart of the conversation at The Education Alliance. We really appreciate the leadership of our business communities that have really stepped up to provide this opportunity.”

The initiative is funded by grants from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Roy and Gwen Steeley Foundation.

Partners such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing and West Virginia Hospital Association have studied the criteria they are looking for in candidates and successful employees and have brought it to the initiative.

“It spells out the knowledge, skills, and characteristics that students need to be successful in today’s world,” Courts said. “It really represents a shift in the kind of skills that employers value and also higher education values.”

The question then being asked after the formation was what is the business community willing to do to help students develop those skill sets.

That is where the internship program comes in.

“West Virginia Ready Internship Program is a paid summer internship for four weeks at three of the regions top employers,” Courts said. “Representing energy, manufacturing, and healthcare.

“This is an opportunity for West Virginia students to learn about the wonderful career opportunities that we have in West Virginia in fields that are growing that need to really build their workforce.”

Participating in the internship program are Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Appalachian Power and Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Leah Curry, the President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Pat Kelly, the CFO and Vice-President, West Virginia Hospital Association, Pam Farris, the Executive Director of Leadership West Virginia, and Secretary Ed Gaunch, the Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Commerce were on hand for the announcement.

“While they are having those internships they are developing those skills like leadership, communication, teamwork, collaboration,” Courts said. “Those will make them a high-quality employee for the future no matter what their career path.”

As part of the internship program, all students that have met internship responsibilities will receive college credits from Mountwest Community and Technical College.

Courts said the interns for this upcoming summer have already been selected but students and businesses interested in being a part of next summer’s program should visit

The announcement on Tuesday took place at BridgeValley Community and Technical College inside Toyota Hall.

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