PRIDE and Southern Partner to Build Jobs

Southern Pride Agreement

PRIDE Community Services and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College have formed a partnership to build jobs by providing on-the-job training to displaced coal miners and others who have been economically affected by the decline in the coal industry. Through the partnership, PRIDE and Southern will work together to provide training opportunities in technical areas including plumbing, electrical, HVAC, welding, and residential contracting. Participants completing the technical training will have the opportunity to participate in business coaching, small business development, and entrepreneurial training; or complete next level training through academic programs such as Welding, Electrical Engineering Technology, or Mechatronics. Funded by an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant, the BuildJobs program began on July 1, 2017. This program serves Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, and Wyoming counties in West Virginia. Participants must reside in one of these five counties.

The BuildJobs program is 16 weeks in duration and free to participants. Applications are processed the first week including drug testing and background checks. Each participant must have a valid driver’s license and Social Security card. Participants are placed with a partner contractor or in a Southern classroom during weeks two (2) through 15. PRIDE’s Training Coordinator prepares participants to take required exams during the last week of the program by teaching test taking tips. PRIDE pays the licensure exam fee to be taken up to twice by each participant. If tools are required, PRIDE purchases tools for the participant to use during training, as well as, to help them get started in their new career. PRIDE also provides a $20 fuel stipend daily (excluding days off) to each participant.

Southern is partnering with PRIDE to articulate the technical training into credits toward the Technical Studies certificate and associate degree programs. Students can receive credit for the training provided by BuildJobs partners as well as other work experiences, then complete additional technical skills or work on business skills necessary to open and manage their own business.

According to PRIDE Project Director, Shelia Riddle, “The BuildJobs program will create a trained workforce to fill positions that continue to be in high demand. We are hearing from employers who want to hire qualified applicants, but these positions go unfilled because there continues to be a low supply of folks who are trained to fill these positions. The program will also create small businesses which will hopefully grow into big businesses. When businesses grow, so do communities and when our communities grow, so do our people.” Dr. Robert Gunter, President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, stated “We are excited to work with PRIDE in this grant opportunity. It’s a perfect example of blending community services, workforce, academic, and business and industry partnerships to serve our communities and provide growth in job opportunities.”

For more information about the BuildJobs program, contact the PRIDE office at 304-752-6868, Sheila Riddle, Project Director, at 304-785-2433, Jason Compton, Training Coordinator, at 304-785-1264, or Carol Howerton, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, at 304-896-7337.

Back Row (left to right): Dr. Deanna Romano, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern, Ms. Carol Howerton, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern, Mr. Samuel Litteral, Vice President for Finance and Administration at Southern, Ms. Shelia Riddle, PRIDE BuildJobs Initiative Project Director, Ms. Allyn Sue Barker, Vice President for Workforce and Community Development at Southern; Front Row (left to right): Dr. Robert Gunter, President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Ms. Lisha Whitt, Executive Director, PRIDE Community Services, Inc.