FAIRMONT, WEST VIRGINIA – Representatives from the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office will attend the North Central West Virginia Aviation Strategic Partnership meeting on Tuesday to tout the benefits of the Jumpstart Savings Act and how Pierpont Community & Technical College will play a key role in the program.

“Aviation is critical to West Virginia’s economic growth and vitality. We know we need to revitalize our American manufacturing base and strengthen our domestic supply chain, and West Virginia is perfectly positioned to play a key role in rejuvenating our blue-collar economy. Access to transportation infrastructure is essential in making this happen,” according to West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore.

Moore was the brainchild behind the West Virginia Jumpstart Savings Act signed in March 2021. The Jumpstart Savings Program, which is the first program of its kind in the nation, allows individuals who wish to pursue a vocation or trade, ranging from welding to cosmetology, to make tax-free contributions to a savings and investment account up to $25,000 each year. Family members and the individual’s employer can also make contributions to the account.

The beneficiary can later withdraw money from the account – which will also be tax-free up to $25,000 each year – to help cover equipment, tools, certifications, licenses, and business startup costs used in a vocation or trade.

Moore said the program will be especially important to the aviation industry in West Virginia.

“Through the Jumpstart program, we encourage West Virginians in trades and training programs, like the Aviation program at Pierpont, to save and invest their money to help purchase tools, equipment, licenses, and business start-up costs after graduation. We want to see the Jumpstart program play a key role in creating a world-class aviation workforce and adding value to West Virginia’s economy.”

Attending Tuesday’s meeting at Pierpoint’s Advanced Technology Center at 500 Galliher Drive will be Heather Raines, the Jumpstart Savings director and Mike Perri, a local government specialist for the State Treasurer’s office. Comments will begin at 9 a.m. The aviation partnership meeting is being hosted by Pierpont’s Center for Workforce Education.

Pierpont’s Aviation program is an associate of applied science degree that provides training in aircraft technology. Students learn to perform maintenance, remove and replace components, troubleshoot and repair aircraft systems.

“We take tremendous pride in preparing our students for their careers in aviation maintenance,” said Dr. Brad Gilbert, Pierpont’s director of Aviation Technology. “We have companies like Mitsubishi and Pratt &Whitney calling us looking for employees because of the reputation of our program, and we are able to provide them with highly-skilled and qualified workers.”

Upon completion of the program, students will be qualified to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 147 tests, which are required for students to get jobs and stay employed. Although preparing for these exams can be daunting, Pierpont provides a test preparation course to prepare workers to pass the exams.