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WorkForce West Virginia, WVU Parkersburg To Help Chemical Plant Workers Earn Degrees

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NPR
Several high-profile commencement speakers have resigned in the wake of student protests this graduation season.

WorkForce West Virginia and the state’s Community and Technical College system are partnering to help hourly workers earn a higher education.

The two organizations are working with the chemical company Chemours to help 300 of their Wood County workers earn associate degrees. The degree program was developed by the company along with the nearby West Virginia University Parkersburg.

WVUP’s Executive Vice President for Institutional Advancement Torie Jackson says the program is the growth of an ongoing partnership.

“The company wants to do something to make life better for all of their employees. So that means they're making sure that they all have a college degree,” Jackson said. “And they're offering to help pay them while they go through that process, helping it to be tailored to the individual needs of the work that they have.”

The program includes degrees for Production Technician, Area Maintenance Technician, Electrical and Instrumentation Technician, and Lab Technician. The workers participating will be rewarded with a pay increase after earning their degree.

“It's a real opportunity for the students to learn and be able to apply that

directly to why they need to know it,” Jackson said.

A release from Gov. Jim Justice’s office says the program is predicted to cost $3.63 million. Chemours and WVUP have already secured $2.5 million, with WorkForce West Virginia also supplying $1.2 million in funding.


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