Governor’s Office of Appalachia visits Marietta campuses

Governor’s Office of Appalachia tours campuses

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times John Carey, director of the Ohio Governor's Office of Appalachia, listens to Washington State Community College President Vicky Wood explain the programs of the college Friday.

Workforce development through creative partnerships was the highlight of tours for the Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia Friday through Washington State Community College, Washington County Career Center and Building Bridges to Careers.

“We often come to these tours and highlight the challenges we have with funding, but we also hope that the director knows the ways we are creatively collaborating,” said Tasha Werry, director of BB2C.

Werry joined WSCC President Vicky Wood, and Tony Huffman, director of the adult technical training at the career center, in welcoming John Carey, director of the Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia, to the educational institutions Friday.

The office is the state counterpart to the federal Appalachian Regional Commission, which focuses funding in the most economically challenged 13-state region of the U.S.

Carey toured both the health sciences wing at the college and the college’s engineering offerings, then debriefed with the partners.

“The POWER Grant, how much money have you applied for?” he asked Wood in that debrief.

“Over a million,” she said, noting the planned additions to the engineering offering with robotics as one of the ways the institution hopes to address transferable skillsets between machinist and industrial workforce needs with its potential crossovers into health sciences.

“Workforce is an issue especially as it relates to recovery, equipment purchases are good as well, but in the listening sessions we’ve had it’s come up that this population (which has lived with addiction) can be overwhelmed by having to chase the services before they can even think of holding down a job,” said Carey.

Wood said WSCC is planning to change its campus over the next couple years to have all services from tutoring to addition of mental health counseling in one location.

Jesse Rousch, WSCC executive director of workforce development and corporate partnership, said putting to use skills and programs offered between both the career center and the college can contribute to the long-term success of an individual in recovery from addiction.

As he walked Carey through the differing equipment, software programming and machinist offerings the college provides, he explained that the soft skills taught in the classes are just as important as knowing how to program and run a machine.

“Troubleshooting and problem-solving are what our area employers want out of the students they recruit, so in this room what they’re working on is broken,” he explained, pointing out other pieces of equipment paid for by grants from the governor’s office of Appalachia and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

At a glance:

• John Carey, director of the Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia, visited Washington State Community College, the Washington County Career Center and Building Bridges to Careers in Marietta Friday.

• The Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia is the state counterpart to the federal Appalachian Regional Commission which focuses funding in the most economically challenged 13-state region of the U.S.

• Both the office and the ARC provide funding for workforce development programs in Washington County like the POWER and RAPIDS grants.

• The institutions’ officials highlighted collaboration between programs during the visit.

Source: Times research.

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