The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 28, 2013

Beckley’s Rotary Club learns about workforce needs

By Carra Higgins
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — The world is experiencing “fundamental changes” and both the United States and West Virginia need to keep up with the evolving technology and provide a workforce to fields that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree, explained Kathy D’Antoni, West Virginia Department of Education assistant superintendent, division of technical and adult education, to Beckley’s Rotary Club Tuesday.

D’Antoni told club members that college is a “tool, not a product” and that 70 percent of U.S. jobs do not require a college degree, but do require secondary training or certification.

“Just because you went to college, doesn’t mean you’re successful,”  she said. “Certifications are becoming more important than degrees.”

Over the years, a person attending classes at a technical school typically meant he or she could not do well in an academic setting; however, there is “nothing dumbed down about wiring a circuit,” D’Antoni said. Now, though, labor intensive jobs are available and those to fill those positions are needed. She added, for example, that it can difficult in some areas to find skilled people to work on plumbing, HVAC units and similar mechanical necessities.

In just a few more years, 50 percent of students who are just beginning high school will work at jobs that do not currently exist, but will as technology and the world further evolves, she said.

D’Antoni didn’t just speak to the club, she received a Key to the City of Beckley from Raleigh County Superintendent of Schools Jim Brown, on behalf of Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh.

— E-mail: chiggins@register-herald.com