CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Marshall University’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences recently named the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) as their Employer of the year!

The recognition was due to close relationships between the WVDOH and Marshall University, which was able to get their students hiring opportunities over the years after being enrolled in summer Co-Op programs.

“It’s really incredible. Of all the employers in the state, to be singled out as the Employer of the Year by MU is truly an honor for the Division of Highways (WVDOH). We’ve had a long-standing partnership with Marshall and their great staff. It’s my understanding that we were chosen by the students, which makes it even more special,” said West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E., expressing how proud he is about this honor.

“The West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) has connected with Marshall University’s (MU) College of Engineering and Computer Sciences since the inception of the Co-Op Program. This partnership has allowed students the opportunity for a real-life work experience in which they can apply academic training into industry, said Tanner Drown, Co-Op Coordinator for MU’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, explaining how beneficial this honor also is to students finding future employment.

Drown also mentioned, “Through this successful initiative, Marshall University (MU) can provide a well-rounded program that results in quality, future employees in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic (STEM) fields. It is a win-win for everyone!”

In 2017, Governor Jim Justice gave out a past grant of approximately $2.8 billion to the Roads to Prosperity highway maintenance and construction program, which created the immediate need for thousands of transportation workers.

While enrolled in programs, participants get paid to work for the West Virginia Division of Highways, where they gain a lot of experience, while learning how the WVDOH works and functions. Participants who start early with these summer co-op programs usually end up pursuing a career with the WVDOH.

Currently, Marshall University has 20 students enrolled in the summer Co-Op Program. Marshall students make up more than 25 percent of co-ops who are hired full-time.