GRAFTON, W.Va. – Grafton County High School students were able to start preparing for their futures with the school’s first-ever Industry Day.
On Thursday, students visited several booths in the gym for Aerospace Industry Day. Employees from companies like Morgantown Airport and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aviation were set up to answer students’ questions about what they do and how to join their field. Educational booths were also set up by West Virginia University and Pierpont Community & Technical College where recruiters could answer students’ questions about a degree in an aerospace field.
“Today, we’re looking at Aerospace because the north central West Virginia region and the workforce opportunities are pretty strong in the area of Aerospace,” said Frank Vitale, President of Forge Business Solutions. “So we brought in some great employers, education providers so we can provide pathways to careers, and we’ve invited our students to come in a learn about those jobs and the opportunities here so that they can stay local and work here and raise their families.”
Forge Business Solutions worked with Taylor County schools and Superintendent Christy Miller to develop Industry Days. The goal of the Industry Day was to engage students in jobs and opportunities to improve West Virginia’s work force participation.
“In the county we see that there are multiple jobs and job demands throughout our area, and we’re trying to allow students to understand the importance of really exploring those opportunities and what trainings they would need while they’re in school and out,” said Matt Knopp, Grafton High School Vice Principal.
Students were able to self-select if they wanted to attend the Industry Day and learn about Aerospace careers.
“They’re asking about what type of classes they have to take,” Brad Gilbert, Director of Aviation Tech at Pierpont Community & Technical College said. “We have classes in metals, we have classes in plastics technology, turbine engine technology, reciprocating engines. We teach them all about the publications that the FAA mandates that they have to abide by.”
Pierpont Community & Technical College offers programs with Harrison, Taylor and Marion Counties for high school students. During their junior and senior years, students can take two college classes per semester, and then after graduation, they finish their education at Pierpont. Gilbert said Boeing projects about 150,000 jobs in aviation technology in the next 20 years.
“This is a lot different than working on four-wheelers, trucks. It’s very precise, there’s a lot of precision involved, and the cost of the parts is very high the demand for safety is very high, so we need to adapt them to that (aviation) culture,” Gilbert said.
Administers said they are planning to have more Industry Days to highlight careers like healthcare and trade.