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Community Colleges and Apprentice Training Offer Educational Options

It’s All About Choice

The traditional four-year college experience isn’t for everyone. Some students aren’t yet set on a course of study, while others are looking for a more affordable education. Some choose career paths that require only a two-year degree, while others may choose to step right into the working world. Both apprentice training and community colleges offer our young people a viable and rewarding career track.

Info on WV Apprenticeships

Earning While Learning

Apprentice training offers students a unique learning opportunity. Most apprenticeship training programs are completely FREE.  Apprentices learn from the best and after completing their classroom training, they earn a paycheck as they complete the on-the-job portion of their studies. And in some cases, apprentices can earn college credits as they train. Apprentice training is a ticket to a middle-class income and a bright future.

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Community College

News reports are full of stories about young people burdened with crushing student loan debt. Data for 2019-20 shows that the average cost of tuition and fees per year for attending an in-state college is $10,116 and for a private school it is $36,801. Let’s stress that time frame again:  PER YEAR! For so many West Virginians the debt that a traditional college education brings is too much to take on. For them, and for those looking for a faster track to a rewarding career, a community college education is a viable low-cost alternative to a traditional four-year institution.

Support for Apprentice Training and Community College Programs

So how can community colleges offer learning programs for substantially less cost than four-year institutions? How can apprentice training programs be provided free of charge? Well, community colleges are supported by tax revenue, while apprentice training programs are funded by contributions from industry workers and the companies for whom they work.  Both learning programs ultimately owe much of their financial well-being to a little-known regulation called the Prevailing Wage Law, which directly and indirectly supports both our community colleges and apprentice training in the Mountain State.

What is the Prevailing Wage Law?

Simply put, a Prevailing Wage Law makes certain that workers are paid a fair wage based on a regional survey of rates for their particular level of skill and experience. Some call it the “going rate.”

How Prevailing Wage Works to Fund Learning Programs

Prevailing wage workers dedicate a portion of their paychecks to apprentice training programs and the companies they work for pick up the rest of the cost. Tax revenues support West Virginia community colleges and employment taxes paid by prevailing wage workers, and their companies make up a large part of West Virginia’s tax revenue. 

Both Learning Programs Are in Jeopardy

Unfortunately, in 2016, with little study, the West Virginia Legislature foolishly repealed our Prevailing Wage Law. Now community colleges and apprentice training programs are at risk of losing the support they need to train our young people and put West Virginians to work.

How Can We Save These Important Programs?

It is time for us to correct the mistake the repealers made in 2016. A mistake that has hurt West Virginia’s working families and never produced the tax saving the repealers promised.  We can restore West Virginia’s Prevailing Wage Law and join the many successful states that train and retain their best and brightest minds. But we must act now. You can help restore our Prevailing Wage Law by adding your name to our petition. Please get on board and help us to restore prevailing wage to Restore West Virginia! 

Sign the Petition

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