MILL CREEK, W.Va. – Staff members from West Virginia University were at Tygart Valley High School Friday morning to announce the school’s winning scores for the first year of the MakerMinded program.
MakerMinded is an online program that encourages students to look into manufacturing careers after high school. Program staff members said it’s a field that will need more qualified workers sooner than later.
“It is predicted that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will come about in the next decade, and if we continue with the current hiring trends, and planning trends and employment trends, then we’re going to have a deficit of two million workers for those jobs,” said Vanessa Licwov-Channell, WVU MakerMinded coordinator.
The program is already launching for a second year in West Virginia after being used in other states. TVHS principal Matthew Postlethwait said the reason for the program’s success in his school isn’t a mystery to him.
“This isn’t textbook technology, this is putting your hands on, working with things, being creative. They’re the actual doers, and I think any time you get students involved in becoming the producers, not just the participants, then I think you’re going to be winning the students over,” said Postlethwait.
For some people, manufacturing careers may not seem like something students need more education for after high school, but many of the jobs expected to open up in the next decade will require high-tech skills that most students don’t acquire in high school.
“There are also many, many of them that you need some vocational training and a certain skillset for. There are a lot of manufacturing jobs that are using a lot of technology and coding skills, and those are industries that we really need to start supporting here in West Virginia because those are the industries of the future,” said Licwov-Channell.