Special Projects - Skilled Training

The Polymer Alliance Zone, Inc is currently involved in several special projects revolving around the recycling of plastic materials, as well as researching methods and products in which refurbished materials can be used. The Polymer Alliance Zone, Inc is currently working with partners within education, research, technology and economic development to pursue the goal of finding a means of efficiently and safely recycling plastic material.

A skilled, knowledgeable and flexible workforce is the key to competitiveness in the global economy. The Polymer Alliance Zone, Inc, along with Marshall University Mid-Ohio Valley Center, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Marshall Community and Technical College, Mason County Career Center, Roane Jackson Technical Center, Workforce WV and the Washington County Career Center offers a variety of programs and services to assist plastics companies with workforce needs.

Sustaining a solid manufacturing base in the Mid-Ohio Valley is vital to the economic well being of the area. To continue to attract investment in local manufacturing requires a skilled workforce that can construct and maintain these facilities. Due to a variety of factors, it’s become very difficult for organizations to locate qualified individuals in the industrial maintenance and skilled trades to support existing manufacturing operations. This has become a nationwide problem as fewer individuals pursue these career paths and the existing maintenance and construction personnel exit the workforce due to retirement. The workforce partners are providing a program to address the current shortage of industrial maintenance and skilled trades workers locally.

Some goals of the workforce partners are to:

  • Dispel the notion that manufacturing is no longer thriving locally
  • Educate the public about the financial rewards of a career in industrial maintenance and/or skilled trades
  • Provide information as to how to pursue a career in this field

Additional Industry Facts:

  • 10,000 people in the Mid-Ohio Valley are directly employed by the chemical industry. (Source: Parkersburg Chamber of Commerce). More than 1,700 are directly employed in industrial maintenance. More than 1,000 are employed in the skilled/building trades.
  • Experts predict that the demand for skilled trades, people east of the Mississippi will increase 40 percent between 2006 and 2010. The American Welding Society predicts that 200,000 additional welders will be needed by 2010.
  • 25 percent of recent hires for hourly positions at local plants had 4-year degrees for positions where it was not required (HR Dept. – Local plant).
  • A recent survey of PAZ members revealed that over 800 direct hire positions will need to be filled in the next 10 years to replace a depletion of the workforce due to retirements and expansions.
  • Wages for skilled trades people are among the highest in the area (Salary.com).

How to Get Started

Companies today need employees with the drive and necessary skill sets to get up to speed and make a contribution almost immediately. To fill that need, prospective employees need to have the training and background that lends itself to meet that need. The days where an individual can hire on and develop those skills at the employer’s expense are disappearing. Therefore, manufacturing organizations need a pool of capable individuals to fill open career positions. Obtaining the skills for these occupations increases your chances at successfully landing a career in industrial maintenance and the skilled trades.

Candidates need the following:

  • High School Degree or Equivalent
  • Vocational Education in one of the craft disciplines
  • Adult Education in one of the craft disciplines
  • College Coursework – 2 year or 4 year degree
  • On-the-Job training with background in maintenance or operations

Beneficial Skill Sets

  • Positive attitude toward working safely
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Willingness to exert physical energy in performing tasks
  • Computer literacy
  • Good writing and communication skills
  • Competency in general math including geometry and trigonometry

Various educational institutions provide training programs to develop the skills necessary to perform the various occupations. They offer a variety of career path tracks depending on availability and cost of the programs.

  • Mason County Career and Technical Center Adult Technical Education, (304) 675-3039
  • Marshall University Mid Ohio Valley Center, (304) 674-7200
  • West Virginia University – Parkersburg, (304) 424-8272
  • Roane Jackson Technical Center, (304) 372-7335
  • Washington County Career Center, (740) 373-6283

The Skilled Trades Unions provide on-the-job training via their apprenticeship programs that build the skills of their membership to meet the needs of industry. These programs allow you to work in the trade at a lower percent of the pay grade while you seek to acquire full journeyman pay rates.

Agencies including WorkForce WV, 1-866-420-4531, may be a source of assistance to individuals seeking additional training and education. For more additional information contact your local state agencies.