CHARLESTON, West Virginia – Governor Jim Justice today announced a new collaborative initiative between WorkForce West Virginia, the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WV CTCS), and Chemours; a chemical company with locations in the state. The partnership will see more than 300 West Virginia Chemours employees earn their associate degrees by fall 2025.
West Virginia University at Parkersburg (WVUP) and Chemours developed the new tenured worker education program to provide associate’s degrees to hourly employees at the Wood County site in Chemours.
“By bringing all of these great entities together, we are creating an exciting new path for hundreds of West Virginia workers to not only advance their education, but to advance their careers as well,” Governor Justice said. “Every day, our goal is to get businesses excited about locating in West Virginia and to get people excited about working in West Virginia. This program achieves both of these goals. The caliber of people who apply to work at Chemours will soar and the extra education will improve everything about their functioning, which is well worth it.
“I thank everyone with WorkForce, our community and technical college system, WVU Parkersburg and Chemours for coming together to make this happen,” Governor Justice continued. “This is the kind of forward-thinking initiative that will allow West Virginia businesses to thrive for generations to come, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other businesses start replicating this exciting concept.”
“This partnership presents an innovative approach to supporting an employer in West Virginia,” said Scott Adkins, Acting Commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia. “Through this collaboration with Chemours, the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, and WorkForce West Virginia, we are excited to support specialized training programs created to meet the needs of employers and West Virginia workforce.
This initiative will provide workers with the opportunity to earn a degree in four industry-focused fields: Production Technician, Area Maintenance Technician, Electrical and Instrumentation Maintenance Technician, and Laboratory Technician.
“Chemours is honored to be a major employer in West Virginia and appreciates the tremendous partnership between the State of West Virginia, WVUP and our local community,” said Nicole Newell, Plant Manager for Chemours. “Improving access to higher education is an added value for everyone involved, especially when it helps to create greater career opportunities. Chemours and our employees are excited to embark on this new program. »
As part of this program, the program is inclusive and tailored to the needs identified by the employer and to real work scenarios. Program participants will take classes each semester while working full-time. Participants will receive a salary increase upon successful completion of the program.
“When a West Virginia business needs a workforce, our community and technical colleges always step in,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Chancellor of West Virginia Higher Education. “We are thrilled to partner with Workforce West Virginia to assist Chemours in its employee development efforts through West Virginia University at Parkersburg, which continues to advance economic development in innovative ways in the region. and beyond. »
“We couldn’t be more grateful to Governor Justice, WorkForce West Virginia, Chancellor Tucker, and all who come together to help us fund what I believe to be one of the most innovative incumbent worker training programs in the world. nationwide,” said Chris Gilmer, president. from WVUP. “This program, developed in close partnership with Chemours, is what all workforce development should be; a program designed with input from employers and employees, with the opportunity to meet employees where they are and put their skills where their employers and the state of West Virginia need them for the long term. Chemours is an incredible full partner in this initiative and we appreciate not only the funding provided by the state, but also the thoughtful partnership to move it forward.
The program is expected to cost around $3.63 million. To date, Chemours and WVUP have secured approximately $2.5 million, with Chemours investing $1 million to fund salaries. WorkForce West Virginia will provide WVU-P with $1.2 million in funding to help purchase equipment and faculty to support the WVU-P/Chemours initiative. The West Virginia Invests grant program is expected to cover approximately $1 million in tuition. The WV CTCS approved a start-up grant of $376,956 to help cover equipment and installation costs.