— Students deserve FIT program expansion
In a recent article in The Register-Herald, Eric Spiegel, president and chief executive of Siemens Corp. and vice president of Business Roundtable’s Education and Workforce Committee, wrote: “Employers and community colleges need to train the workforce.”
He cited “the solution to putting America back to work requires having a workforce which has the skills to succeed. Many employers struggle to find candidates who have the training for the jobs produced by our modern economy. Jobs are available, but too often applicants’ abilities do not match the need.”
According to Barry Crist, principal of Fayette Institute of Technology, the school is meeting the need of preparing a skilled workforce. He said, “FIT offers an option for those who do not want to pursue the traditional college degree.”
FIT students learn skills in 18 programs such as nursing, welding, drafting, masonry, carpentry and electrical engineering. Some of the senior class are already using their skills to construct a house which will eventually be sold by the Board of Education.
Fayette Institute of Technology was named a WV School of Excellence and WV Exemplary School for 2013. Recently the WV Department of Education named FIT one of three WV Premier Career Technical Centers in West Virginia.
I am writing this letter to point out that 80 high school students are waiting to get a spot in one of FIT’s 18 programs. A suggestion has been offered to purchase the old K-Mart building in Fayetteville and make it an auxiliary to FIT for more space to offer courses.
The Fayette County Board of Education already owns a building with adequate space. The former Danese Elementary school would provide adequate space and could offer programs in the eastern end of the county to students who are now traveling to Oak Hill. Eighty students would not have to wait to get the classes they desire.
There is a need for more space. There is a need for a better-trained workforce. There is a need to offer classes now to the 80 students who are waiting. There is a building standing empty in Danese that can fulfill that need. Do not waste taxpayers’ money to purchase and renovate a building when the county already has one available. The money saved could be used to pay instructors in the new school.
Students are waiting and employers are waiting. The Fayette County Board should act soon so that no student will have to wait for a spot in one of the classes offered by FIT.
Dorothy A. Foster