CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today announced a new collaborative initiative between WorkForce West Virginia, the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WV CTCS) and Chemours; a chemical company with locations in the state. The partnership will provide the opportunity for more than 300 West Virginia Chemours employees to earn their associate degree by fall 2025.
West Virginia University at Parkersburg (WVUP) and Chemours developed the new incumbent worker training program to provide associate degrees for hourly employees at the Wood County site of Chemours.
“By bringing all of these great entities together, we are creating a new and exciting pathway for hundreds of West Virginia workers to not only advance their education, but to advance their careers as well,” Gov. Justice said. “Every day, our goal is to make businesses excited about locating in West Virginia and to make people excited about working in West Virginia. This program accomplishes both of these goals. The caliber of people who apply to work at Chemours will go through the roof and the added education will improve everything about their operation, making this investment well worth it.
“I thank everyone with WorkForce, our Community and Technical College System, WVU Parkersburg, and Chemours for putting their heads together to make this happen,” Gov. Justice continued. “This is the kind of forward thinking initiative that will keep West Virginia businesses thriving for generations to come, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other companies start to replicate this exciting concept.”
“This partnership showcases an innovative approach toward supporting an employer in West Virginia,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia. “Through this collaboration with Chemours, the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, and WorkForce West Virginia, we are thrilled to support specialized training programs created to meet the needs of both West Virginia’s employers and workforce.”
This initiative will provide the opportunity for workers to earn a degree in four industry-driven areas: Production Technician, Area Maintenance Technician, Electrical and Instrumentation Maintenance Technician, and Lab Technician.
“Chemours is honored to be a major employer in West Virginia and appreciates the tremendous partnership of the State of West Virginia, WVUP and our local community,” said Nicole Newell, Chemours plant manager. “The value of increasing access to higher education is a win for everyone involved, especially when it helps to create greater career opportunities. Chemours and our employees are excited to get started on this new program.”
As part of this program, the curriculum is inclusive of and responsive to employer-identified needs and real-life workplace scenarios. Program participants will complete courses each semester while working full-time. Participants will receive a pay increase upon successfully completing the program.
“When a West Virginia company has a workforce need, our community and technical colleges always step up to the plate,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “We are thrilled to partner with Workforce West Virginia to help Chemours as it works to upskill employees through West Virginia University at Parkersburg, which continues to innovatively advance economic development in the region and beyond.”
“We could not be more thankful to Governor Justice, WorkForce West Virginia, Chancellor Tucker, and everyone who is coming together to help us fund what I believe will be one of the most innovative incumbent worker training programs nationwide,” said Chris Gilmer, President of WVUP. “This program, developed in close partnership with Chemours, is what all workforce development should be; a program designed with employer and employee input, with the ability to meet employees where they are and take their skills to where their employers and the State of West Virginia need them to be long-term. Chemours is an amazing full partner in this initiative and we appreciate not only the funding provided by the state, but also the thought partnership to move it forward.”
The program is anticipated to cost approximately $3.63 million. To date, Chemours and WVUP have secured approximately $2.5 million, with Chemours investing $1 million to fund salaries. WorkForce West Virginia will award WVU-P $1.2 million in funding to assist with the purchase of equipment and faculty to support the WVU-P/Chemours initiative. The West Virginia Invests grant program is expected to cover approximately $1 million in tuition costs. The WV CTCS has approved a start-up grant of $376,956 to assist with equipment and facility costs.