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Commission Receives Update From Workforce Development Board

July 4, 2018
BY TELINA FRYE - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

The Wetzel County Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 26 and received an update on the Northern Panhandle Workforce Development Board from Rosemary Guida, Executive Director. Guida gave reports from the Individual Training Account program, along with Adult Dislocated Worker and Youth programs. Guida noted the Apprenticeship Training program has 49 individuals, and three are waiting to be processed.

Guida said Workforce had additional funds this year and was able to serve all individuals, without a waiting list. Guida said a notice was received from the national lobbying group, not from the state, informing that there would be cuts in funding in the upcoming year. If federal cuts are made, the state takes a cut and then distributes to each region based on the unemployment rate and dislocated workers. It was noted the state is two years behind on stats used to determine how much each local workforce board receives.

Guida then gave a report on the Sector Partnership Emergency Grant Program, a voucher program. This program allows for the payment for up to two years of school, just like the Individual Training Account. This grant ended June 30 and was a special grant just for West Virginia Northern Community College and Workforce. In the other regions, it included the local Workforce Boards and their community colleges. There were 182 referrals but they were only able to serve 40. This is because a lot of people didn't qualify, because they had to be long-term unemployed, 13 weeks or more. Also, the people just weren't interested in training. Guida said Russ Frye, the director of Workforce, noted that statewide, the targeted number to be served was not met, so Workforce was going to give back more than $1 million to this grant. Another problem was the unit cost per person was $5,000. However, the training didn't cost $5,000 because by the time Pell grants and other loans are factored in, the unit cost only averaged about $2,100 per year, per person.

For the Youth Program Activity Report, the target number of 126 was met. The year to date, as of April 30, the expenditures was about $206,000. The total budget was $295,000 for Youth Service Systems. One hundred percent of that money is expected to be spent as there are three more months left after this report to spend it. The ITA Account, for older kids, was able to put 10 in its program. There were three kids from Wetzel County to take advantage of that program. This program helps children go to school and get degrees. Guida said Workforce would try to continue to promote this program and hope that more individuals are enrolled. Some of the careers these students are entering are as follows: Welding, Medical Assistant, CDL and Nursing. It was noted the Executive Committee approved an additional $32,096.00 to be given to Youth Service Systems in April to run a Spring Works Program. This is a program for older kids ages 18-21 to obtain work experience. The Summer Youth Program will continue from July 9 through Aug. 30. They have 12 kids signed up from Wetzel County to participate in four worksites including Wetzel County Commission, Wetzel County Museum, Wetzel County Hospital and Town of Pine Grove as of the date of the meeting. There will also be a Fall, Winter and Spring Youth Program.

Relatedly, all seven Workforce Boards were offered the opportunity to apply with the state for an Opioid Crisis Grant. Mrs. Guida brought it to her board at the May meeting, and the board agreed because the opioid crisis is not only bad for the area, but across the country. Guida is trying to acquire money to serve 20 people who were affected by opioids, which is about $183,000.

In other commission matters, Prosecuting Attorney Timothy E. Haught was present to discuss Legal Matters. A motion was made and approved to retire into Executive Session.

In other matters, Scott Byrne from Electronic Specialty Company was present to discuss fire alarm inspection. A motion was made and approved for an inspection agreement to inspect the fire alarm systems at the Courthouse, 911 Center, 4-H Cabins and the Mollohan Center.

In other matters, the Wetzel County Commission recently approved giving the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families $40,000 to aid with the center's relocation.

Beth Goddard, of the WCCCF, explained that the Wetzel County Board of Education will be utilizing its Route 7 property for a career center, teaching welding and other trades, once more. The WCCCF had been utilizing the property for its programs. Goddard said the WCCCF supports the need for training programs for the community; she noted the cost-effectiveness of the BOE using the building it already owns.

Goddard said the WCCCF has thrived in that building for 20 years, but that time is now coming to an end. The WCCCF was required to be moved out of the location by June 30; this short turnaround does not give the WCCCF much time to generate funds. Therefore, Goddard requested $40,000, so the WCCCF has 20 percent to finance the facility and repairs to its new building. Grant funds allow the WCCCF to pay rent and utility costs, but not purchase or renovate a building.

Goddard said every dollar the WCCCF has for the purchase will keep monthly costs down. She noted the WCCCF is overwhelmed by the support of the community, adding Momentive is moving WCCCF's playground equipment to the new facility. In addition, the BOE committed $15,000 to help.

A motion was made and approved to donate $40,000 to the WCCCF for the purchase of a building.

In another matter, the commission agreed to give $3,000 to the Wheeling YWCA for an "Over The Edge" event, slated for August. This event raises money for the YWCA programs. One of those programs, Judy's Place, benefits Wetzel County.

In another matter, at one of its May meetings, the Wetzel County Commission officially declared Wetzel County as a Purple Heart County. The commission was approached by Dave Schoenian, Chaplain/Adjutant, Military Order of the Purple Heart 709 regarding the Proclamation. The Proclamation noted that Wetzel County residents have been engaged in every war "against a declared enemy fought by the United States, including the war for the nation's independence," and the county "has a large number of residents who have been awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in combat."

Additionally, Mr. Schoenian also presented the commission with a plaque. The Military Order of the Purple Heart Special Recognition Award was bestowed, recognizing Wetzel County's "dedication and support Honoring America's Combat Wounded Veterans Becoming the Purple Heart County." The plaque noted it was presented by The Patriot Members of The Department of West Virginia Military Order of the Purple Heart, U.S.A."

It was noted Wetzel County Commission has donated funds for the building of the Veterans Wall at American Legion Post #28 in New Martinsville. The commission also annually donates funds to each of the four American Legions, to purchase flags for graves of veterans.

The commission has also donated to the Helping Heroes program in Moundsville for transitional housing for veterans. It was also noted that officials at Helping Heroes have confirmed that some Wetzel County veterans have utilized Helping Heroes' services.



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