american graduate

As the American Graduate program continues to look at the changing face of the workforce, we took a deeper dive into the career preparation the West Virginia Department of Education's Career Technical Education programs  provide to students around the state.  This week we are featuring students from Wetzel, Marshall, Fayette, Mercer, Kanawha and Ohio Counties. Check out the incredible work of these West Virginia Students.

American Graduate| Getting to Work CTE  

Amy Sisk

Editor's Note:  The issues at Duquesne Light are not unique to Pittsburgh. Regions and industries across the country are facing the challenges of an aging workforce.  As a part of a larger project West Virginia Public Broadcasting is looking at the issue in its American Graduate/Getting to Work project.

At a Duquesne Light facility in Pittsburgh, 10 high school students hunched over sheets of paper, pens in hand, as they sketched their dream homes.

“I’m just drawing an A-frame house with a garage on the side, a nice front porch,” said Louis Charlier of Beaver Area High School on a recent Thursday.

Mineral County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

The global security company Northrop Grumman is expanding its West Virginia plant located in Mineral County. The move is expected to create hundreds of new jobs at the site.

Wetzel County 4-H and FFA Ham Bacon and Egg Sale
Corey Knollinger / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Across the state, high schools offer career and technical education to give students a leg up in their fields before graduating. These programs can include skilled trades like welding, shop classes, or even meat processing.


BridgeValley Community and Technical College is one of nine CTCs in West Virginia.
Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bill West Virginia Public Broadcasting followed closely during the 2018 regular state Legislative session could resurface in 2019 – legislation that would offer tuition assistance to in-state students attending a Community and Technical College. Last year, it was often referred to as the "free community and technical college bill," and it would’ve provided the “last dollar in” after all other forms of financial aid had been exhausted.

American Graduate: Building West Virginia's Workforce is now available to watch online.

As the Mountain State's skilled workforce ages and manufacturing evolves to use technology, there are job opportunities in West Virginia that require some training or certification, but not a 4-year degree.

Jessica Leake / Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

West Virginia Public Broadcasting held a community outreach event Tuesday night at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg to discuss the future of jobs in the Eastern Panhandle.

One of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s organizational goals is to help facilitate an ongoing statewide conversation about job opportunities in West Virginia – what jobs are out there and what are the barriers to getting them?

Looking for a career pathway that doesn't involve a four year degree? There's been a major transformation in the job market in recent years, and as a result there are alot of good jobs out there that don't require a bachelor's degree. 

wvpublic.org/jobs is a new website that profiles these middle skill career pathways. West Virginia Public Broadcasting has partnered with educational & governmental non-profits, as well as industry and labor leaders, to develop the site and social media campaign.

Join West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg as we co-host a FREE panel discussion with regional experts exploring the future of job opportunities in the Eastern Panhandle – and how to get there.

Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree.

"All through my life it was, 'if you don't go to college you're going to end up on the streets,' " Morgan said. "Everybody's so gung-ho about going to college."

So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Perry Bennett / Legislative Photography

Gov. Justice’s second State of the State made full use of several props, two whiteboards and his entire girls’ basketball team.

Justice also laid out what he thought was really important in his speech. Here are two themes I heard: finally turning the corner on the opioid epidemic, and helping young people find technical and vocational careers.