Students to help revitalize state parks, forests

Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and Department of Education staff meet at the state Capitol on Nov. 8 to announce an interagency partnership that will enable students in career and technical education programs to gain authentic work experiences while helping to revitalize state parks.

CHARLESTON — Officials from the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources recently announced an interagency partnership that will enable students in career and technical education programs across the state to gain authentic work experiences while helping to revitalize state parks.

Student-led companies, as part of the Simulated Workplace program, will utilize their technical skills at 35 state parks, seven state forests, the Greenbrier River Trail and the North Bend Rail Trail. More than 24,000 students within 1,200 Simulated Workplaces will complete a wide range of needed updates such as construction projects, repair of HVAC systems and restoration of bathhouses.

“Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a multi-year partnership, which will not only provide students with real-world experience, but also result in a long-term impact on some of West Virginia’s most prized resources — our state parks,” said Steven Paine, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools. “This partnership will provide opportunities for students to both enhance their leadership skills and gain practical experience they can rely on when pursuing future careers.”

Students will apply technical skills to enhance state parks throughout the Mountain State, many of which have not been updated for more than 30 years.

“The West Virginia state parks system’s staff is excited to be working with the instructors and students from our vocational and technical schools,” said West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel. “This partnership will help us meet growing maintenance needs at our state parks and forests and will greatly benefit the students, our parks and the citizens of West Virginia.”

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