KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) – Friday was signing day for three Kanawha County High School seniors. But they aren’t being recruited to play sports. These whiz kids are the future of Dow Chemical.
Marshall Jones, Chase Carroll, and Alex Ward celebrated the occasion with their family, friends, and mentors. They were chosen from a pool of 125 applicants for the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program in West Virginia.
“I’m super excited. This opportunity is amazing,” said Ward, who is graduating from George Washington High School.
They’ll be reporting to work at Dow next month and starting classes at Bridge Valley in the fall. Not only will they attend college for free, but they’ll also be paid for going to class and they’ll be getting hands-on experience.
“With my program, they pay for their books, they pay for their tuition and I also pay them a 40-hour salary a week while they are going to college,” said Don Light with Dow.
He said for Dow it is a proactive strategy to make sure they have skilled workers for years to come.
“You have an aging workforce. It has really been a while since we’ve done some massive hirings at our West Virginia site so there are a lot of people in their 50’s and we have to prepare for the next generation of people who are going to operate our valuable chemical plants that we have here,” Light said.
For the students chosen for the program, it is a straightforward path to a high paying job.
“I think the four-year college route is turning into being too expensive and people can’t afford it,” Ward said. “So to get an opportunity where your school is paid for and you don’t have to worry about student loans in the future is amazing.”