Kanawha lawmakers seek movement on work skills bills

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two Kanawha Valley lawmakers are pushing for an earlier start to vocational and technical education training.

Delegate Andrew Robinson, D-Kanawha, and Senator Glen Jeffries, D-Putnam, held a news conference Monday to push several bills dealing with vocational and technical education.

Robinson said students need to be given more opportunities to gain interest in hands-on skills.

“Garner some interest in the skills and trade so West Virginia can be one of the most trained workforces and not just wait on companies to come here,” Robinson said. “We’re seeing millions of employment opportunities that will be coming available in the coming years and West Virginia is not ready to meet that coming need yet.”

Robinson said there’s no such thing as generating that interest too early.

“We can start in the middle schools and even the elementary schools in some cases and introduce students to these programs and availability of education they have,” Robinson said.

The state’s community and technical colleges new ‘last dollar in’ program can give students unique opportunities, Robinson said.

“They can not only earn an entry level certificate but continue their education where an electrical student in high school can become an electrical engineer,” he said.