David Wertz was concerned about the future of the Blenko Glass plant in Milton, which had been in operation for a century and was one of the few genuine glass firms still operating in the United States.
The first registered glass worker apprenticeship in West Virginia kicked off this week, marking the official beginning of the program.
Apprenticeship training is provided through this programme thanks to a collaboration between the state’s Department of Economic Development and the United States Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program.
Apprenticeships at Blenko Glass are now available, making it possible for younger individuals to get experience in a field that has been around for a long time.
Wertz stated that if we did not have it, we would have no hope and our company would fail in the near future. Because of this, we are able to provide our new workers with a greater variety of training opportunities to assist them in progressing their careers. This indicates that we will still be operating in the next century.
According to Wertz, this rate of expansion has never been witnessed before due to an innovative initiative that pays employees to learn on the job.
The game is about to enter a brand new section. According to Wertz, “we’ll be able to open additional stores because we’ll be able to train more personnel.”
In addition to this, we are working to enhance the benefits offered to our present personnel while also setting the framework for future expansion of our labour force.
Taylor Brumfield, who graduated from Glenville State University with a degree in visual arts, is hopeful that the experience she will get from her internship will benefit both herself and the state in which she was educated.
Taylor Brumfield is currently working at Blenko Glass as an apprentice. In the “hot shop” of the company, Master Glassblower Ray Adkins instructs him on how to properly do his work duties.
“Who else will keep this art form alive and ensure that it remains a part of our Appalachian culture if you choose to abandon it?”
I’ll paraphrase what Brumfield had to say about it; here it is in his own words: “If I could climb the ranks to become a glass piece finisher, I would.” It will take at least five years, which isn’t very long at all, but I’d estimate I’m about a quarter of the way there already.
Additionally, according to Wertz, the majority of the apprentices and workers in the “hot shop” are under the age of 30.
“We begin our shift at 6 o’clock in the morning, and the work is strenuous, hot, and physically demanding.” Wertz was quoted as saying, “It’s hard to find young individuals who are willing to wake up at six in the morning and work hard in the heat of summer and the cold of winter.”
“In order to create excellent glasswork, you have to have a passion for what you do.” At Blenko, you can see that each and every employee is genuinely interested in their work, which is something that is quite important. It appears that everyone is expressing their emotions right now.
According to Dave Lavender, who works with the Department of Economic Development, Workforce Training, and Apprenticeships in West Virginia, the state takes great pride in the fact that it provides the fifth most apprenticeships per person in the whole country.
Lavender stated that “we put them in with everything,” ranging from technicians of wind turbines to meat cutters, home health aides, brewers, information technology specialists, and aerospace engineers.
We are the second state in the country to put into practise the “Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship” concept, which is gaining popularity all around the country.
West Virginia is in the lead among the states in terms of providing young people with opportunities to learn a trade.