HUNTINGTON - Working while you learn can be beneficial for both the student and the business, especially when the skills the student is learning match the job opportunity.
Rachel Enyart is one of those students looking to earn wages while completing her tech degree at Mountwest Community and Technical College.
"I start my final semester at Mountwest Community and Technical College in January," she said. "Now, thanks to the Learn and Earn program, I will be able to work for a technology company in the area while finishing my education."
Enyart, 23, of Barboursville, is now one of several students at Mountwest Community and Technical College who will have the opportunity to work for technology company "Core10" in Huntington while completing her information technology degree.
"I am very excited about this opportunity," she said. "This opportunity with Core10 appears to be just what I was hoping to find."
This month, the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia announced that it awarded Mountwest a grant to support their new partnership with Core10 through the Learn and Earn program.
"The program is a 50/50 wage match between business and industry and the state of West Virginia to support training efforts for students enrolled in public community colleges," said Joshua Joseph, an assistant professor at Mountwest who is over the animation and game development program. "Students who take advantage of this most recent opportunity at Core10 will learn how to build software in an agile, consulting-based environment while learning under the direction of Core10 senior developers."
Joseph says he and Mountwest professor Kim Priest were looking at ways to bolster opportunities for students to be able to work during school as well as finding employment after graduation.
"This grant was one way that we can help businesses get students that have the educational skills needed to fill open positions," Joseph said.
About 90 percent of students who participate in the Learn and Earn program end up working in their field of study in West Virginia, according to the CTCS.
"The Learn and Earn program is an excellent fit for Core10 because we have very aggressive goals around recruiting and hiring in West Virginia," said Jeff Martin, co-founder and CEO of Core10. "Bringing students into our organization for co-ops demonstrates to them the new tech economy that's here to stay, and furthers our mission to create technology job opportunities right here in the state."
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., facilitated the partnership between CTCS and Core10.
"Fostering new and innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors is essential parts of helping West Virginians succeed in the workforce and growing our economy," Capito said. "The exciting collaboration between Mountwest and Core10 is a real win-win for everyone involved. ... This is a perfect example of how we can work together to keep our state moving forward."
While working with business analysts, project managers, UX/UI designers, quality assurance engineers and software architects and developers, students who are hired at Core10 through the Learn and Earn project will learn the importance of collaboration in the software development field, Martin added.
Heather Hogsett, 29, of Wayne, is another student in the program hoping to find a career close to home.
"I really felt I would have to leave the area to find a career that fits with my education, but now with this opportunity I may be able to find a career job right here at home," she said.
CTCS Chancellor Sarah Tucker said her organization has been looking at ways to partner with Core10 since the company announced its expansion to West Virginia in October of last year.
"We believe this Learn and Earn opportunity allows our students to be competitive in the fast-paced technology field," Tucker said. "We recognize that the IT industry is growing rapidly nationally and within West Virginia, and we need to make sure that our community college students have what it takes to be successful. Partnerships like these make that possible. We are grateful to Core10 for this partnership and are thankful to Senator Shelley Moore Capito who helped to make it possible."
Core10 is located on the second floor of the old Masonic Temple Building, 1102 River Tower West on 3rd Avenue in Huntington. The Huntington location has been putting seasoned technology architects in Nashville, Tennessee, where the company is based, with ambitious young developers in Huntington.
"Core10 is a pioneer of the new 'hereshoring' business model, in contrast to offshoring, which creates technology jobs in communities and cities in the U.S. that are rich in talent but have lower costs of living or other financial benefits compared to major metropolitan areas," Martin said when Core10 opened. "While many businesses look to move or contract their technology needs well outside the U.S., hereshoring looks inward, streamlining communication and logistics while keeping jobs and revenue from leaving the country."
Everyone involved with the program says the goal of the Learn and Earn is to bring real on-the-job experience to students who are studying to work in high-demand and high-wage fields, like technology.
"Core10 partnered with Mountwest to provide this opportunity to students studying in animation and game development, web design and development and graphic design," Joseph said.
Officials with the program said participants will receive $15 per hour as compensation for their work with the company while they are still in school.
"We are hoping that many of them are able to use this opportunity to get a permanent job with Core10 or another technology company in the region," Joseph said. "We know that many tech companies are looking at this region, but have cited a lack of skilled workers. This program goes a long way in filling that need for skilled technology workers."
Originally posted on Huntington Herald-Dispatch.
Photo credit: Lori Wolfe, Huntingon Herald-Dispatch