Tech careers see growth in north central West Virginia


Finding a job can be hard, and seniors graduating from high school are often overwhelmed by the different pathways available.

North central West Virginia has been seeing industries take off, and the question tends to be, “If you want to live here, what careers thrive in this area?”

“Anything in the medical field and our aviation area with Pratt and Whitney, Aurora, Lockheed Martin, there are just so many opportunities,” said Diana Minutelli, guidance counselor at Liberty High School.

Guidance counselors are tasked with directing hundreds of high school students on the right career path. College seems like a popular pathway for some, but for others, it may not be the best fit. Whether you are finishing high school or changing careers, tech schools can offer quick training. 

“The new manufacturing of today is not your grandfather’s manufacturing,” said Lucinda Curry, director of workforce development at the Robert C. Byrd Institute. 

The Robert C. Byrd Institute in Bridgeport trains machinists and CNC operator programmers. The school offers one- and two-year programs in partnership with Pierpont Community and Technical College. 

“These jobs are in demand and sometimes people think about manufacturing and they think of the decline in manufacturing but the high-tech, high-skilled jobs are in demand,” explained Curry.

The U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that CNC machine tool programmers for metal and plastics could expect to see job growth of 19 percent from 2014-2024, which is much better than the average for all occupations.

“They can machine parts for companies for aerospace, for automotive, for mining industry of course, for the oil and gas industry,” added Curry.

For those interested in becoming a machinist or CNC programmer, administrators said now is the time to register for the fall semester at the Robert C. Byrd Institute. For more information on applying, visit the school’s website.

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