Jobs & Hope WV Celebrates Graduating Class of Heavy Equipment Operators at 2024 West Virginia Construction & Design Expo

Photo Gallery | Graduation Ceremony

By: Matthew Holstein

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – March 20, 2024 – Jobs & Hope WV, in collaboration with the West Virginia Military Authority (WVMA), proudly honored the March 2024 graduating class of the Heavy Equipment Operator Course (HEOC) at the esteemed 2024 West Virginia Construction & Design Expo. The ceremony took place at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center amidst hundreds of potential employers, showcasing the remarkable achievements of the graduates.

Hosted by the Contractors Association of West Virginia (CAWV), the West Virginia Construction & Design Expo stands as the region’s premier trade show for the construction and design industry. Boasting over 400 booths, 250 exhibitors, and drawing in approximately 4,000 attendees, this annual event serves as an ideal platform for industry networking and professional development.

The HEOC equips graduates with intensive training on various heavy equipment pieces, including dozers, hydraulic excavators, backhoes, graders, and rollers. The comprehensive 28-day, 214-hour program encompasses essential certifications such as OSHA-10 Safety Certification, First Aid Certification, and training in environmental stewardship, soil properties, preventative maintenance, surveying operations, and job site safety.

Since its inception in 2019, the HEOC, a joint initiative by Jobs & Hope WV and the West Virginia Military Authority, has empowered 236 Jobs & Hope WV and Mountaineer Job Challenge participants, preparing them for rewarding careers in the construction industry.

The March 2024 graduating class comprised eight Jobs & Hope WV participants and two Mountaineer Job Challenge participants. Not only did they receive their certificates at the expo, but they also engaged in a reverse job fair, seizing the opportunity to interview with potential employers on-site.

Graduates of the HEOC enjoy a 50% employment rate, securing positions with esteemed employers such as the West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) and various private contractors in construction, oil & gas, and related sectors.

The West Virginia Military Authority serves as a pivotal partner for Jobs & Hope WV, hosting not only the HEOC but also a Lawn & Landscape Technician Certification and the Jobs & Hope WV Employment Program (JHEP).

Established in 2022, the JHEP is a state grant program designed to facilitate Jobs & Hope WV participants in securing time-limited, wage-paid work experiences in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Employers enrolled in the program provide salaries ranging from $10 to $35 per hour, with an impressive 44% retention rate post-1040 hours of employment or upon reaching the $25,000 subsidy cap.

As of 2024, the JHEP boasts 59 participating employers, with 99 participants receiving a cumulative $1.2 Million in salary reimbursement.

For employers interested in participating in the Jobs & Hope WV Workforce Employment Program, please contact (304)561-6416 or email

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