This story was written by Joe Nelson 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An agreement is in place to have Pierpont Community and Technical College host surgical technician classes for students at the Monongalia County Technical Education Center (MTEC).

The Monongalia County Board of Education unanimously approved the contract that will be one-year long as part of their consent agenda passed during their regular meeting Tuesday. Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico calls the agreement an important move to adjust to state regulations as well as help continue a career pathway for MTEC students.

“We’ve always offered that certification, but the rules have changed, so we have to have a partner,” said Talerico. “In this case, Pierpont has stepped up to say they would partner with that (program),” she said.

The agreement between the Monongalia County School System and Pierpont Community and Technical College was made in response to state regulations that require all surgical technologists to have a minimum associate’s degree (a two-year-long degree path) in order to work in hospitals in the Mountain State. To adjust to the changes, MTEC reached out to Pierpont officials to help take over classes that would be a part of a two-year program. This will replace the former one-year program that was hosted by MTEC, with the contract expected to be reviewed after the one-year term.

“The requirements then require those to have an associate’s degree, which we can’t provide, that has to be done through a partner agency,” said Talerico. “It’s something new for all of us,” she said.

Talerico also added that not only is the agreement going to help the close to a dozen students that are currently enrolled in MTEC’s surgical technician certification program, it will also help continue a job pipeline that has been a part of the school system for several years. The discussions over how to adjust to the state changes and the need to have the agreement ready for the 2024-25 school year included conversations with local medical professionals who are running short on staff in hospitals in regards to surgical technicians and numerous other positions. While the agreement is short-term, it’ll allow students looking to get into a career pathway to continue to do so.

“We have our own program for our high school students in surge tech, and the need (job demand) is tremendous,” said Talerico. “The community has a big need for these positions, and we hope that we can continue to provide that,” she said.

Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell also announced that developments are still in the works related to the approximately $4.43 million that was awarded to MTEC for the construction of science, technology, and math (STEM) additions to the school. As they prepare to discuss project layouts and the bidding process for construction, plans are in place to conduct a student-focused survey to offer suggestions on what kind of classes should be added, with the goal of having a formal proposal within the next couple of years.

“We’re still two years out (before curriculum is considered), and we want to do some surveying of our students,” said Campbell. “To see what types of programs (they want to see), what things they need to expand on, and then we’ll be able to designate how we are going to use those spaces,” he said.


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