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Earn a Living While Earning a Degree in Huntington, WV

New programs at Mountwest Community and Technical College combine classwork with paid work.

By Livability on October 28, 2022

Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, W.V.
Courtesy of Mountwest Community and Technical College

Students at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, W.V., can earn a living while also earning a degree via on-the-job training initiatives. Through partnerships with C.J. Hughes Construction Co. and the IT managed service provider Ntiva, Mountwest is offering two new programs that simultaneously offer both an education and a vocation.

“You’re getting your college degree by working for the folks who are also paying you to be in the program,” says Mountwest Director of Communications & Marketing Matt Crutchfield. “These are really great partnerships.”

C.J. Hughes, a 75-year-old West Virginia company that specializes in pipeline and utility construction, approached Mountwest about creating a utility construction program to fill a need for an increase of qualified workers in the field.

“This industry has been steadily growing for the last several years, and it’s been a struggle to find candidates who can come in and jump straight into work,” says C.J. Hughes Director of Marketing MacKenzie Morley. “This 11-month certificate program will educate, grow and groom these students into potential employees, teaching them exactly what they need to know to work in this industry.”

The literal payoff is that two months into the program, students are required to start working a minimum of 20 hours per week in the field, receiving paid on-the-job training along with a real-world education. Students can remain with the program for a second year to earn an associate degree while continuing to work.

“We understand that classroom time isn’t enough. The best way to learn is to actually do it,” Morley says. “These students will move throughout all our models of business, doing hands-on training that will prepare them for a career in the field.”

The connection between the classroom and the job site is even closer through the internship program established by Ntiva, which provides IT consulting and cyber security services. Earlier this year, Ntiva opened a Service Desk Academy on the Mountwest campus, allowing students to make $16 per hour handling actual IT calls from Ntiva clients.

“Students can learn about all these IT networking concepts in my classroom, then walk down the hall and put the skills they just learned into practice,” says Patrick Smith, Mountwest Associate Professor of Information Technology, Network Systems and Security. “They’re taking real calls from real clients, working real IT tickets.

“So, once they graduate, they’ll have a degree and actual job experience on their resume,” he adds. “They can have a future career lined up before they even walk out our doors.”

It is all part of Mountwest’s commitment to help provide a better future for its students, business partners and the entire community.

“Programs like these show Mountwest’s desire and dedication to solve problems in the community,” Morley says. “They have been able to create programs that meet the demand needs of our region.

Mountwest Community and Technical College is working with local companies to help students receive on-the-job training and prepare them for a successful career.

Learn more about Mountwest Community and Technical College at mctc.edu

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