August 20, 2009
WVU Parkersburg receives $220,000 state grant to develop industrial machining degree.
CONTACT: Dr. Rhonda Richards, senior vice president for academic affairs, 304-424-8242.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Virginia University at Parkersburg is the recipient of a $220,000 grant to implement an industrial machining degree.
The West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education awarded the WV Advance Grant to WVU Parkersburg to develop an Associate in Applied Science degree in industrial machining.
There is documented need for such a program, college officials note. Based on a WVU Parkersburg survey of area machine shops, more than 90 new machinist positions are expected in the next three years.
"Every respondent to the survey said that they would hire a graduate with a two-year degree," noted Rhonda Richards, senior vice president for academic affairs. "Of the machine shops that replied, 15% said that their incumbent workers definitely are interested in a program such as this, and another 40% thought that their machinists would likely be interested."
According to the Manufacturing Industry Employment Projections June 2007 report prepared by the Clarus Corporation for the CTCS, machinists and CNC machinists are in high demand in West Virginia in the manufacturing sector. More than 1,000 positions will be needed in year two of the forecast and the demand is expected to continue as more companies rely on the technology.
WVU Parkersburg's program will be developed for workers who are new to the job market, incumbent workers who need retraining, and unemployed workers needing a marketable skill set, she said.
The Industrial Machining Associate Degree program will follow the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities identified by the U.S. Department of Labor as critical for job success.
According to the Department of Labor, Dr. Richards noted, machinists should be able to set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments.
"Machinists may also include precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. Additionally, machinists may also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, shop mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures," she added.
The grant funds will be applied to initial equipment purchases and faculty costs for the first three years of the program. The college plans to implement the degree in January 2010.