West Virginia’s newest manufacturing education center opened last month in South Charleston with more than 200 individuals already registered to participate in machinist training at the facility.
In another major expansion of its manufacturing training initiatives, the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMC) partnered with the West Virginia Regional Technology Park to create the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Training & Education Center to better serve the Kanawha Valley. Major funding is provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Defense through the Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) Program.
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ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin joined MAMC and Tech Park staff, manufacturing representatives and local officials to celebrate the opening June 7. More than 100 people toured the 5,500-square-foot facility to see the advanced technology, which includes manual and computer-controlled mills and lathes, a robotic arm and a 5-axis machining center.
“The ARC invested in this project because it was a great project,” Manchin said. “The plan was well done. They had all the players at the table. Basically, they had developed what was truly a great project for this region to grow the economy in a coal-impacted area.”
Derek Scarbro, MAMC director, said the new South Charleston facility will provide education and training to a diverse array of individuals, from teen-agers considering careers in manufacturing to displaced miners looking to retrain and existing manufacturing workers who want to add to their skill sets.
“This isn’t a build-it-and-they-will-come situation, but rather build it because it’s really needed,” Scarbro said. “There are more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs open in our region. We have more than 240 people that already have asked to participate in training here. We’re going to have lots of different types of classes, both short-term and long-term, so there’ll be different ways for people to participate.”
Staffed by experienced machinists and technicians, the center will enable MAMC to expand its innovative array of workforce training initiatives, including the U.S. Department of Defense-funded America’s Cutting Edge (ACE Net) CNC Machining Bootcamps, which is a collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
The first individuals to train at the new facility, a group of teens and young adults from High Rocks Academy based in Pocahontas County, already have completed its computer-controlled machinist initiative there through the ACE NET program. Additional bootcamps are scheduled throughout the coming months, both in South Charleston and Huntington.
A group of adults from across the Kanawha Valley are participating in a free bootcamp there this week, and two teen and young adult training sessions, offered in partnership with the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, will begin Aug. 7 and Aug. 14 as part of the Bridging Opportunities partnership to introduce more young people to careers in manufacturing. To register for this free training, visit www.mfg.marshall.edu/CNC-bootcamps.
In addition, MAMC will partner with West Virginia Women Work to offer the Step Up for Women Advanced Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship at the new South Charleston facility beginning this fall. The free 12-week training program prepares adult women for entry-level positions and apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing. The program is enrolling now for August classes. Details and registration are at www.westvirginiawomenwork.org/step-up-manufacturing.
“These are just a few of the training opportunities we’re able to offer because of the new facility and new technology in South Charleston,” said MAMC Director Derek Scarbro. “In the coming weeks and months, in addition to a delivering customized training programs for a number of area manufacturers, we’ll be announcing more public classes and training options. Stay tuned.”
July 6, 2023