Workforce & Education
Advantage Valley is rich with hard-working people and work-focused educational resources
Hard work and a job well done are nothing new to the people who call Advantage Valley home. Our area’s history in industries such as coal production earned local workers (there are 617,000 in our labor shed) a reputation for initiative and employer loyalty. With an outstanding quality of life and a low cost of living, it’s easy for employers to retain local talent.
Plus, local educators have long worked closely with regional companies to deliver workforce training and classes aligned with the needs of employers. For example, our area’s K-12 school districts have high schools with strong focuses on today’s in-demand skills. The many CTE programs offered locally include skill development in areas such as welding, computer systems, production technology, and business, among others. Successful statewide apprenticeship programs connect companies to resources for developing a quality workforce and also assist with obtaining training dollars and methods to recruit, upskill, and retain employees.
Community and Technical Institutions
Advantage Valley has rich educational resources focused on the needs of today’s successful companies. In particular, the area’s network of community and technical colleges offer training customized to local employers, whether it’s to onboard new hires, prepare for new equipment, or help great employees transition to supervisory roles. Their Learn and Earn Program allows students to take technical courses while gaining paid work experience.
BridgeValley Career and Technical College
Located in South Charleston (Kanawha County), BridgeValley offers postsecondary and high school programs, including Welding, Business and Management, Facilities Management, Computer and Information Technology, Mechatronics, and many others. It’s also home to the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Work Sponsorship Program which is endorsed and sponsored by the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME). Established in partnership with Toyota, the program gives students the opportunity to earn an associate degree while providing a paid work experience at a local manufacturer. Many participants are hired into full-time roles by their sponsoring companies.
Mountwest Community and Technical College
Located in Huntington (Cabell County), Mountwest offers postsecondary and high school programs focused on meeting the needs of today’s employers, among them Machinist/CNC Technology, Welding, Engineering, CAD, Business and Management, Mobile App Development, Drone Technology, and System Networking.
In addition, RCBI empowers manufacturers and makers, moving innovative ideas from concept to market with leading-edge equipment and expertise, while boosting company performance and profitability through skills training and quality implementation initiatives.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
Two of the college’s many locations are here in Advantage Valley (Boone and Lincoln Counties). They provide a broad range of workforce programs in skill areas such as Industrial Technology, Industrial Welding, Mechatronics, IT, Agriculture, and Electromechanical Instrumentation Technology. In addition, they provide continuing education in areas such as Supervision and Leadership, Heavy Equipment Operation, Customer Service and Safety.
Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Manufacturing
With campuses in Huntington (Cabell County) and South Charleston (Kanawha County), the Institute delivers workforce training in areas such as Additive Manufacturing Technology, Machining, Robotics, and Welding. RCBI empowers manufacturers and makers, moving innovative ideas from concept to market with leading-edge equipment and expertise, while boosting company performance and profitability through skills training and quality implementation initiatives.
Located in Huntington (Cabell County) with satellite campuses throughout the Advantage Valley region, including South Charleston (Kanawha County), Point Pleasant (Mason County), and Teays Valley (Putnam County), Marshall offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in career fields such as Aviation Maintenance; Ecology; Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering; Occupational Safety and Health; Computer Information Security; Business and Management; and Forensic Science.
University of Charleston
This private university offers two-year, four-year, and graduate programs in Arts and Sciences, Business, and Healthcare. It is the fastest growing private university in West Virginia. Its main campus in located in Charleston (Kanawha County) with a campus in Beckley, WV known as UC-Beckley.
West Virginia State University
Just outside of Charleston, WVSU was founded as a historically black institution. Today, its educational programs and student base have grown to include programs in sectors such as Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Business and Management, Biology, and Chemistry.
West Virginia University
Located in Morgantown (with two satellite campuses), this public university offers everything from certificates to Doctoral programs in fields such as Agribusiness, Animal and Food Science, Information Systems, Computer Engineering, Business and Management, and several Engineering disciplines.