Recent Press

Press Releases, News & Updates from Explore and all of our education efforts.

2021 Emerging Elite in Manufacturing and Outstanding Industry Educator Awards

Here’s your chance to nominate West Virginia high school students and educators who excel in career readiness fields, technical education, and STEM classes that focus on manufacturing careers. Nominations will also be accepted for middle schools that creatively engage students in career literacy programing.

Manufacturing Workforce Continuum Phase II: We Need Your Help

Does your company need a more qualified pool of candidates and enough skilled applicants for entry level positions?

The employment opportunities within the West Virginia manufacturing industry are rich and diverse. Yet, positions remain unfilled, waiting for qualified applicants, while many training programs struggle with low enrollment. Statistics tell us students don’t deliberately avoid training programs nor industry careers. Most are unaware they exist.

Let's Get Personal About Manufacturing

On September 20, 2017, during its 14-day run, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake. Afterward, the hurricane's impact reverberated far beyond Puerto Rico's borders, and its ripples continued well after it made landfall. Three months later, in late December, my dad had a heart attack, a catalytic event that sent his health plummeting through a multi-week downward spiral. Each 24-hour cycle brought a dizzying array of testing, procedures, and diagnoses, his life primarily supported by tubes and machines. As he slipped through different layers of consciousness, his weight began to wither away from the lack of sustenance. Medical practitioners voiced concern about the capacity to feed him intravenously due to limited supplies. We heard their trepidation about shortages of IV bags and other medical supplies due to the wreckage Hurricane Maria caused to the manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico that produce them. Although Hurricane Maria never hit West Virginia, we were now feeling its aftermath and hearing the rattling of the missing links within supply chains. When a simple plastic bag or IV supplementation might stand between whether a loved one lives or not, manufacturing gets personal very quickly.

Happy New Year! - It’s finally 2021

It’s finally 2021.  Time for a fresh start, right?

Yet, we’re still dealing with a pandemic, inconsistencies, and few things work like they used to. A fundamental philosophy the Explore team has operated under during the last year is to be open and adaptable when hiccups occur and innovative in making the situation better.

This simple concept encourages creative energy and a proactive approach to getting the job done. We want to hear from our manufacturers and educators how they are rolling with the punches and helping employees and students through this challenging time.

Send us your stories by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Make sure to check out the new Director’s NotesWhen Alternatives Aren't Acceptable?

When Alternatives Aren't Acceptable

2020. Pandemic. Shutdowns. School closures. Last January, if someone would have suggested that a pandemic would strike, halting all in-person activities and yet the Explore Program would cap the year in a stronger position than when 2020 began, I would have said, "Of course, we will." Truly, what other options are there? Manufacturers need skilled workers, and our state's young folks need the hope that job opportunities await. Regardless of the circumstances 2020 presented, the alternative of not following through was simply not acceptable.

Explore the New Manufacturing Provides Virtual Programming for Middle Schools

3c86a09b a79d 4f53 b35f 8c68e82fa345Explore the New Manufacturing's Manufacturing Days Virtual Lab Series started off with a smash hit, thanks to Fiesta Tableware! This and other manufacturer-hosted virtual labs were developed for blended, distance, or remote learning formats.

Interested middle school educators can receive video content for each lab, plus the following:

  • Pre-lab Guess the Manufacturer Contest
  • Student lab worksheet
  • Student lab experiment (Fiesta Tableware lab focused on tensile strength)
  • Bonus learning contest, the WV Made Scavenger Hunt which features Made with West Virginia Pride videos.

The series builds career literacy and is designed to meet WV Department of Education STEM based curriculum standards.

Manufacturing Innovation Challenge: West Virginia High School Students Partner With Manufacturers to Solve Challenges

Virgin Hyperloop's recent announcement that construction will soon begin on its 800-acre certification center in Grant and Hardy counties has created much excitement across the Mountain StateAdditionally, the latest newsthat DST Innovations and Blue Rock Manufacturing have agreed to establish a new Morgantown-based facility for developing energy cellswith a second phase expansion for southern WV, is a promising message about forthcoming job opportunities in the stateHowever, these are not the only new businesses to make commitments in 2020 to planting their roots in West VirginiaAfacility construction begins, it serves as a reminder that erecting educational pathwaysso our workforce is ready when the doors open, is critical to long-term sustainability.

Manufacturers & Educators Working Together: October Updates

We’re working together to help students explore the exciting careers available in West Virginia’s manufacturing industry.


The Explore team is extremely excited to introduce the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge to West Virginia.  Using problem-solving skills, high school teams work to solve a real-world challenge issued by a regional manufacturer. 

The challenge provides benefits for both manufacturers and students.

Manufacturing Workforce Continuum: Building a Pipeline for Tomorrow's Workers

During National Manufacturing Month, as we continue forging ahead through the unprecedented reopening of schools this fall, we are excited about developing virtual connectivity between industry and education so that earlier efforts are not lost. We anticipate the new virtual platforms will expand outreach efforts to more areas around the state. Launching this month, Manufacturing Day Virtual Labs will feature manufacturers demonstrating processes and interactive labs for remote learning application. Both the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge and the What's So Cool About Manufacturing? Student video contest will be modified virtually for the coming year. We have also established an Educator's Roundtable to assist with evaluating programming strategies and program feedback. When possible, we plan to reintroduce our in-person programming while utilizing these new virtual formats to fill gaps where it is logistically hard to offer in-school events.

Today is National Manufacturing Day!

Celebrated annually on the first Friday in October, National Manufacturing Day shines a light on modern manufacturing careers by encouraging companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders.  Things may look different this year due to COVID-19 but that is even more reason to share the importance of manufacturing in today’s world.  

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Stay informed on activities and programs that are helping to introduce West Virginia students to rewarding career opportunities.

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Upcoming Dates

1 Dec
Explore Academy - Elkins
Date 12.01.2022
2 Dec
9 Dec
20 Dec
WVMAEF Executive Committee Meeting - Virtual
12.20.2022 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
21 Mar
WVMAEF Executive Committee Meeting - Virtual
03.21.2023 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Updates from Explore

Contact us and get involved!

Interested in getting involved with the Explore the New Manufacturing Program?

We are looking for manufacturers, schools, teachers, and community members to
help us expand our efforts throughout West Virginia.

Help us by answering a few questions.