The Step Up for Women Advanced Manufacturing Program has just completed its seventh successful cohort. The vocational training program has run two classes per year since its first in the summer of 2016. Dozens of women have gone through the training and found employment in local manufacturing companies.
Melinda Perron, Program Coordinator for Step Up, is pleased with how well the graduates have done. “It was nerve-wracking to run the first class back in 2016. No one knew how the class would go – this was the very first manufacturing pre-apprenticeship for women in the county. Thankfully, almost all of my students have found jobs and moved up in their careers. I’m getting to see these women go from depending on government benefits to buying their own homes.”
The class, which runs out of the Robert C. Byrd Institute on 4th Avenue in Huntington, cycles students through manual and CNC machining, shop math, manufacturing blueprint reading, and employment soft skills. The women in the program are not charged any tuition – grants and scholarships pay for the classes. There are no income limits or residency requirements either. Students often travel from Kentucky or Ohio.
Graduate income averages over $12 per hour starting wage with regular increases. Some local companies pay as much as $17 per hour for new hires. Jobs are 40 or more hours per week usually with benefits like medical and retirement. Women from 18 to 60 have been successful in the program, and Perron encourages women of color, veterans, and other minority groups to apply.
Step Up is a program of West Virginia non-profit focused on helping women become financially secure. Anyone interested in the class can apply at wvwomenwork.org/stepupamp or call 304-528-9991 for an application.
Registration is open for Boyd County Public Library’s annual 5K run/walk scheduled Friday, April 26.
Now in its 7th year, the Love Your Library 5K is unique in that its goal is not to raise money, but rather to bring awareness of the many services that Boyd County Public Library makes available to the community.
“It’s exciting to see that so many people support our library,” said Debbie Cosper, director of the Boyd County Public Library. “A strong library helps create a strong community and with their support, our community is helping us grow our services.”
The event will take place Boyd County Public Library main branch at 1740 Central Ave. in Ashland and features a 1.25-mile walk beginning at 6 p.m. with the 5K starting at 7 p.m. Trophies will be awarded to the first two overall male and female 5K finishers and first three finishers in each male and female age group (14 age groups overall). All participants will receive an official race T-shirt and a BCPL swag bag.
To register, visit any Boyd County Public Library location or go to www.tristateracer.com. The mission of Boyd County Public Library is to provide quality resources and access to information for the community. The library has locations in Ashland (1740 Central Ave.), Catlettsburg (2704 Louisa Street) and at the Kyova Mall. For more information, visit www.thebookplace.org.
HUNTINGTON – Victory may be sweet, but the competition could be even sweeter as several local businesses compete for the honor of Huntington’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie, all to raise money for United Way of the River Cities.
This second annual competition is set for Thursday, Nov. 16.
Several businesses in downtown Huntington are set to sell their own versions of the classic chocolate chip cookie during normal business hours. Folks who buy cookies will have the opportunity to rate them. At the end of the event, the cookie with the best average rating will win the title.
All proceeds from the competition benefit United Way of the River Cities.
“This is a fun, easy way to support the life-changing work of United Way of the River Cities. We had a really great turnout last year and couldn’t wait to do it again this year,” Matt Ward, United Way’s director of development, said in a news release. “We want to thank our local businesses for their support and encourage everyone to try out their recipes.”
Participating businesses include:
- Bow Love Children’s Boutique, 905 4th Ave.;
- Butter It Up, Heritage Station;
- First Sentry Bank, 823 8th St.;
- Glenn’s Sporting Goods, 1040 3rd Ave.;
- Old Main Emporium, 842 4th Ave.;
- The Red Caboose, Heritage Station; and
- T.K. Dodrill Jewelers, Pullman Square.
United Way of the River Cities is a nonprofit organization, the mission of which is a fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in its community. To learn more about the United Way of the River Cities or to donate visit unitedwayrivercities.org.