** Nominations Due By May 31st **
Last week Rosann Ferro from Senator Manchin’s office and Valerie Piko of the Regional Economic Development Partnership and I had the opportunity to tour the Wetzel County Technical Education Center, and my oh my, were we impressed! We were welcomed by Amanda McPherson, Director of Child Nutrition, Wellness, Nurses, WCTEC and the dynamic support staffer, Whitney Healy were our tour guides.  

I must tell you that the staff, students, and facility are next level, and right here serving our community!

We began our tour with the Welding Program. If you could see all the equipment and level of professionalism on display by the students, you’d probably feel like I do that our young people really have their stuff together and ready, willing, and able to get busy working! The welding shop is a million-dollar investment that I would venture rivals any program, anywhere in the country. 

While welding has traditionally been a male dominated field, it was wonderful to see that the shop manager was a young woman, Bella Conner who is intending to use her skills as an artist. Bella is a budding sculptor looking to be an entrepreneur. Now that’s music to my ears!

The welding instructor, Steve Starkey comes to the Center with a wealth of experience and knowledge and allows the students to run the shop in a professional and safe manner under his watchful guidance. These young people are more than capable of entering apprenticeships in a variety of businesses
Next, we visited the Health Sciences program with instructor Debbie Coen who was proud to show off her eager students and all the hands-on equipment available used to prepare them for entrance into the health care field.

Last, but certainly not least was a stop at the Electrical Program where instructor, Richard Hearn Jr. provides one-on-one training to students wanting to become electricians. These students are well prepared and eager to begin working. Mr. Hearn is so confident in the abilities of his students that he is accepting contracts where his students can provide electrical repairs for small projects. The students will work under his supervision and their rates can save you hundreds of dollars!
This was a morning well spent at the Wetzel County Technical Education Center. I encourage everyone to support these young people who are working so hard to learn skills that are vital to our community and our local economy. 
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