Charleston, W.Va. – State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR) Director Stephen McDaniel signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to expand a partnership that affords valuable work experience for students. The agreement provides opportunities for students with disabilities to enhance their leadership and technical skills to rejuvenate West Virginia’s State Parks. The MOU is an expansion of a current agreement between the two agencies that provides Career Technical Education students with real-world experiences.
The expansion of this partnership will open doors for students with disabilities who often find it difficult to gain meaningful work experience. The new agreement will assist students in building the skills and confidence to successfully enter the workforce.
“This partnership is a vital part of our mission to provide support for all of our students, and ensure they are prepared for future success,” Paine said. “Agreements such as these allow our agencies to work together to enhance West Virginia’s emerging workforce.”
Last November, West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and WVDNR signed an interagency partnership that has already proven beneficial. Through the Simulated Workplace program, career technical education students have completed more than 500 restoration projects within state parks and gained the opportunity to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom in real-world situations.
“We are thrilled to expand this partnership, which is extremely valuable to our students and our state parks,” said West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel. “State Parks are beloved local institutions just like our schools. Students are instrumental in meeting the growing maintenance needs at our state parks and forests.”
The project is housed within the WVDE’s Office of Special Education and will be implemented in Berkeley, Brooke, Clay, Calhoun, Gilmer, Hancock, Hardy, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell, Mineral, Pocahontas, Roane and Wayne counties as well as the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind in 2018. The partnership will be expanded to 14 additional counties every year until all 55 are active.