Welch training program earns accreditation
The Robert C. Byrd Institute’s (RCBI) Machinist Technology/CNC Program in Welch – offered in partnership with Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College and the McDowell County Career & Technology Center – has earned site approval from the Higher Learning Commission, a regional college accrediting body.
This means that students in the program are eligible for federal financial aid and other assistance to cover tuition costs, said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. Student also are eligible for financial aid through WV Invests, the state program to provide financial assistance to students pursing certificates or degrees in specific high-demand fields.
“More than 90 percent of our machinist graduates secure employment in their chosen field,” Weber said. “The Welch Machinist Program is unique. In addition to providing training for adults, it offers a career path for high school students who can enroll in manufacturing classes, earn national certifications and credits toward an associate degree from Southern at the same time they earn their high school diploma.”
The program is offered 5 days a week at the McDowell County Career & Technology Center in Welch.
RCBI’s Machinist Technology/CNC Program was the first in the nation to provide students the opportunity to earn both national certifications from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills and a college degree. In addition to Welch, the program is offered in Bridgeport, Huntington and Williamson.
The Welch and Williamson programs were established in 2016 through RCBI’s Appalachian Hatchery, part of POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization), a multi-agency initiative that delivers federal resources to help communities affected by job losses in coal mining and related industries. Funding is provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission, U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.