A combined conference of Apprenticeship coordinators and construction industry leaders took place in Wheeling on October 2 –3.The overall theme was to identify the craft challenges and opportunities for the region.

The first half day focused on apprenticeship issues such as federal regulations and funding issues, recruiting, working with community colleges and becoming a community college, and the industrial construction management training program.

The second day focused on major industrial projects like the Shell Cracker in Monaca, PA; gas-fired electric power projects proposed in Marshall, Harrison and Brooke Counties; and major interstate pipe-line projects proposed for the region.

Also discussed was a major initiative called the Appalachian Storage Hub which aims to build hundreds of miles of pipeline within the region to make the gas by-products like ethane and propane available for local industrial use; an analysis of regional construction costs; and the changing technology of drug testing.

Professor Sam White, from the Institute for Labor Research at West Virginia University leads a panel about an industrial construction management training which included (from left) Mary Welgs, Director of Corporate Business Development, Stevens Engineers and Constructors; Keith Hughes, Business Development, JD&E; Lance Lucarelli, IBEW Local 246; and Dave Efaw, Secretary Treasurer, West Virginia State Building and Construction Trades.