Charleston, WV, June 8, 2021 – The West Virginia Manufacturers Association Educational Fund Inc. (WVMAEF) announced today the awarding of a $187,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to support the continuation and expansion of its Explore the New Manufacturing programming. The purpose of this initiative is to increase interest in manufacturing careers among middle and high school students in West Virginia.
We are pleased to support this expansion of Explore the New Manufacturing, which is a wonderful model of student engagement in various forms of manufacturing. The video competition has proven to be a powerful vehicle for cultivating student interest in manufacturing, as well as a creative way to communicate the “new” manufacturing environment to peers, parents, educators, and elected officials. WVMAEF is launching a compelling innovation with SCRAP that I hope can be shared across the tri-state region,” stated Jim Denova, Vice President of the Benedum Foundation.
The WVMAEF will leverage and build upon active partnerships between the manufacturing and education sectors and expand coordination with the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). The Explore the New Manufacturing Program collaborates with the WVCTCS to provide more awareness about its training programs in each region and plans to further these efforts in the future through mentorships at various events. With additional support from the WVDE, educator engagement will be increased at numerous levels to create greater access for students who are exploring career options. A significant partnership for the WVMAEF remains the West Virginia manufacturers' commitment to helping students and educators explore the variety of job opportunities available across the state.
The one-year grant will support six specific initiatives:
Middle School Programming includes Explore the New Manufacturing Academies, Explore Workshops, Manufacturing Day Virtual Labs, and the What's So Cool About Manufacturing? Student Video Contest.
High School Programming includes Explore's SCRAP Competitions and the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge.
“On behalf of the West Virginia Manufacturer Association Educational Fund Inc., I am grateful for the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation’s generosity and support,” said Program Director Monica Cross, who oversees the WVMAEF and its Explore the New Manufacturing Program. “This funding increases the WVMAEF’s capacity to expand its engagement and outreach. In collaboration with our partners, we continue our efforts to retain young talent in West Virginia and make an increasingly greater impact in equipping students with the skillsets necessary for industry careers across the state.”