HICO, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia, like almost everywhere else, is dealing with a teacher shortage. But a new program at Midland Trail High School is offering students the opportunity to help alleviate some of the state’s troubles.

The Grow Your Own Program allows students in the Mountain State to begin pursuing a career in education before they get to college.

Glenville State University partnered with Midland Trail to offer students who joined the program an Associate’s Degree upon graduating high school. Dr. Manchin, President of Glenville State, spoke about the partnership between the two schools.

“We want to continue to grow our program,” said Manchin. “Part of that is right here at Midland Trail for Grow Your Own program where we’re identifying teachers, future teachers for the state of West Virginia.”

Manchin spoke to a group of sophomores about the program and the opportunities it provided to them. Midland Trail Principal Richard Petitt explained what those opportunities were.

“Just to have that opportunity, for kids to be aware of those opportunities and maybe get an opportunity to come home and, and, you know serve the community in a teaching capacity someday is kind of, uh, unique and exciting,” said Petitt.

Currently, there are four students from Midland Trail enrolled in the program.

Braxton Skaggs, a junior at Midland Trail enrolled in the program, talked about what she hoped her fellow students were able to take away from Manchin’s visit.

“I would like people to, like, actually try to, like see if they would like to become a teacher cause we’re like losing teachers in the, like, you know, everywhere and we really need them in this world,” said Skaggs.

Currently, there are around 40 students enrolled in the program at Glenville and since the program began, Glenville introduced 30 to 50 new teachers every year to schools in the Mountain State.