WILLIAMSON - West Virginia First Lady and President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, Director of Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies, Carl Baisden and Academy Instructor, Bethany Howerton joined members of the West Virginia Development Office for a Mission Trip to China.
The group attended the 2013 China Coal and Mining Expo in Beijing, China, where Tomblin represented West Virginia during the opening ceremonies. It is the largest coal mining exhibition in China and draws a worldwide audience. It is the top event in the China Coal industry.
The representatives from Southern also attended a meeting hosted by officials of the Shanxi Province. In August 2013, Southern signed an official agreement with Shanxi officials to permit students from their province to train at Southern’s Academy during the next four years. The meeting addressed the arrival of the first students in November. The training will focus on communications, rescue and safety.
“Identifying the needs and successfully providing them to the students is likely to produce extraordinary results. Southern looks forward to offering this opportunity,” said Tomblin.
“Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College has created a gold standard for mine training in southern West Virginia. These students are looking for that expert training, with the latest technology and best resources available. Southern will provide that for them.” Tomblin said. “Our understanding of educational experiences abroad is expanding, and there are more opportunities for students beyond the traditional study abroad for academic credit,” she added.
First Lady/President Tomblin also had the opportunity to visit the Affiliated High School of Shanxi University. Tomblin was given a tour of the 3000 student facility by the principal and had a chance to meet with teachers also. Senior students were invited to join a question and answer session with Tomblin.
Visiting a new Coal Liquefaction Plant, Electric Power Plant and the newly created Trade Free Zone was an additional highlight for the group. The Free Trade Zone provides countries with the opportunity to export products at a reduced tax rate.
“China’s economic growth is creating exceptional opportunities for greater engagement between West Virginia and China. Southern is proud to be a part of that partnership,” Tomblin said.