Bridgemont, for example, partnered with Toyota to offer the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program. Bridgemont students take classes two days a week while they earn a wage working at the Toyota Buffalo plant three days a week.
Students earn $40,000 in five semesters, Harris said.
"The reason Toyota is willing to do this ... is because they are so concerned with the Baby Boomers retiring, they're willing to work with tech colleges to get the people they want to replace those retiring individuals," Harris said. "The demand is there, we need to produce graduates to fill the job in industries that this growth comes from."
That growth Harris referred to is a reference to the 900 nonfarm jobs added in the state in December, which ended 10 straight months of job loss, according to the Jobs Count report.
The state's manufacturing sector saw a small rebound, adding 700 jobs. Construction also reversed recent trends by adding 400 jobs. The government, education and health services sectors each added 400 jobs, according to the report.
The biggest loss occurred in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which lost 800 jobs.
Skidmore said industries in the state that need skilled workers include health care -- such as nurses, nursing home workers and respiratory therapists especially, and manufacturing jobs such as highly-skilled technicians, chemical operators, and a number of jobs in the oil and gas industry.
"The bar is rising as far as the qualifications for jobs," Skidmore said. "Skill levels are at a point where it's going to require post-secondary education to get the skills necessary for those jobs."
Harris said some employers, like Jacobs Engineering, are worried.
The Elkview company invited Bridgemont students to its plant to learn about the jobs it offers and how much it pays, she said.
"They are concerned and know [Bridgemont] is the place to look for these types of graduates. The partnerships that we're developing are beneficial to our citizens and our college and to the employer," Harris said.
Now it's up to the students to attend a community or technical college to get the necessary skills, she said.
"The more we can tell the public about the technical job opportunities, the more interest there will be in getting the skills for those jobs," Harris said.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.