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The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Grant Supports Explore the New Manufacturing Program Expansion

Charleston, WV, August 9, 2021 – The West Virginia Manufacturers Association Educational Fund Inc. (WVMAEF) announced today the awarding of a $22,000 grant from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) to support the continuation and expansion of its Explore the New Manufacturing programming within Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Clay, Lincoln and Fayette counties. The purpose of this initiative is to increase interest in manufacturing careers among middle and high school students in West Virginia.

“TGKVF is excited to partner with the WVMA Educational Fund in support of the Explore the New Manufacturing program in our region. The Foundation is committed to building the skills of students to become productive and successful. Through programs like Explore the New Manufacturing, middle and high school youth will receive the education and guidance that prepares them for careers in promising economic sectors,” stated Dr. Michelle Foster, TGKVF President and CEO.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation grant will support the expansion of two specific initiatives:

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge program introduces problem-solving experiences for high school career and technical education students. For these projects, student teams solve real-world challenges presented by local manufacturing companies. Students problem-solve, brainstorm, pilot potential solutions, and present their projects to the manufacturer. This program helps students connect their skill development with career opportunities. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenges require teams to design and build a product or re-engineer an existing product, process, or system. For the 2021-2022 school year, student teams will also present their projects at one local middle school.

What's So Cool About Manufacturing? Student Video Contest is a competition wherein middle school teams are partnered with local manufacturers to create videos and compete for awards. Each team is responsible for creating a three-minute video to promote to their peers that answers the contest's question as related to their manufacturing partner. The event culminates with an awards ceremony where winners are recognized for Best Manufacturing Message and Viewers’ Choice awards, among others.

“We are grateful for The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation’s generous support of the Explore the New Manufacturing Program,” said Monica Cross, WVMAEF Program Director. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with TGKVF to expand and strengthen efforts to provide educational resources to six regional counties. This funding will allow us to advance initiatives and extend outreach to middle and high school students across the Kanawha Valley, one of the most manufacturer-dense regions of the state. “

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