First Class Of Workers Earns Accreditation at Western Maryland Works

Almost 40 local workers earned accreditation this evening during a ceremony at Western Maryland Works. The workers earned credentials in nine different duty areas including welding, mechanical systems and machining. Many of them had been employed at the Verso Luke Mill and are now training for new careers and job opportunities around the region thanks to the state, local and federal partnerships that helped to create Western Maryland Works. Dave Smarik outreach coordinator with the Advanced Manufacturing Programs for the Industrial Maintenance Technician Program says it is very exciting to present these graduates. “The majority of these students are part of the Verso dislocated Luke Mill workers and they are operating under the Trade Adjustment Act funding that we have diligently worked to put into play here. These are the first graduates here at the Western Maryland Works makerspace.” He says the facility is truly unique and offers the needed training for the workforce in our community which leads to sustainable employment. 
According to former Luke Mill employee Rich Lehmann “We are very proud to witness the awarding of credeitnials to more than 30 members of the first class of the Allegany College of Maryland’s Advanced Manufacturing Program. The celebration symbolizes the setting of the cornerstone in the foundation for the new beginning of Allegany County, Maryland as a world class center of excellence for business. These 30 class members represent the thousands of technically qualified, hard working, flexible and loyal workers that are available to take on the upmost challenging and rewarding careers in the world. The Advanced Manufacturing Program is helping to further enhance this work force. Allegany County has a large group of underemployed residence that are eager and readily available for any companies needing to expand in a new location. With universities, two colleges and excellent public schools in the area we are well positioned to continue to improve the work for needed to provide employees for many decades to come.” 
Devin Holbrook and Jonathan Lease are machinists that have gone through the program. Holbrook says it was a challenging program but very rewarding and he was able to earn a new job. Lease says it was tough losing his job after 19 years but he has several job offers now thanks to the training and he is excited about the future. 
Allegany County Commissioner Creade Brodie says this is the backbone of Allegany County’s workforce. He says one word to sum it all up is dedication. 
The facility in LaVale offers training, business incubator offices and makerspace. The job training is provided through a partnership with Allegany College of Maryland. For more details log on To find out more about the opportunities offered through ACM log on to

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