American Graduate

American Graduate: Getting to Work

Public Media Initiative to Advance Education and Career Readiness

WVPB received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for the American Graduate: Getting to Work initiative to help advance education and career readiness in West Virginia. The station will work with partners throughout the state to assess workforce challenges and opportunities, and to produce content highlighting individuals as they pursue a variety of pathways leading to high-demand jobs and livable wages.  #WVWorkz

Partners

  • West Virginia Department of Education Career Technical Education
  • WorkForce West Virginia
  • Affiliated and Construction Trades Foundation
  • Community and Technical College System of West Virginia

Resources

Previous Work

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen, an initiative to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis.

A new survey out this morning of mobility in the American workforce finds that one in four job applicants would move to a new city for a new job, a higher salary or better career opportunities. The online employment site Glassdoor found that younger workers and men were more likely than others to relocate to a new metro area, especially those in software engineering, developers and data scientists. And where are they moving to?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree.

"All through my life it was, 'if you don't go to college you're going to end up on the streets,' " Morgan said. "Everybody's so gung-ho about going to college."

So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Middle-skills jobs, those requiring more than high school but less than a four year degree, make up one-third of all jobs in the United States, have an average annual salary of more than $45,000, and are projected to remain in demand in the future.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been awarded a grant from American Graduate and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to investigate opportunities for careers outside of a four-year degree. 

John Nakashima/ WVPB

On a recent weekday, in a renovated building in downtown Huntington, 22-year-old Jacob Howell was among 20 people working at a laptop in a sunlit office. Senior web developers sat shoulder-to-shoulder with new employees at long tables. There wasn’t a cubicle in sight.


 

Howell, a Hurricane native, wasn’t sure where he might end up after graduating last year from Marshall University.