WELCH — Area residents hoping to lock up a job at the new federal prison in Welch are being asked to attend an upcoming job information seminar sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The session will be held Thursday, May 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the National Guard Armory in Welch, Rachel Lester, economic development director for McDowell County, said.

Lester said officials are hoping to see more residents of McDowell County apply for the 340 plus jobs that have to be filled at the new federal prison. Lester said a greater number of residents of Mercer and Wyoming counties attended the last job training session.

“I was a little disappointed that more McDowell Countians didn’t attend the last class,” Lester said. “We had citizens from Mercer and Wyoming county dominate the class in McDowell County, which is fine, but I would like to see more folks from McDowell County participate.”

Lester said residents of McDowell County interested in obtaining a job at the new federal prison that is being constructed at the Indian Ridge Industrial Park should attend the May 21 meeting.

“We definitely want to get them out there because there is a lot of information like upcoming training sessions,” she said. “We’ve already held one training session in the county that wraps up today. They were contacted from a database that Workforce (West Virginia) had been compiling. We want to increase that database. We want those folks from McDowell County to get out there and starting putting out their applications. These are good jobs. If anyone has any questions, they can call us, and we will help them as much as we can.”

Lester said the federal prison construction is still on track to be completed by this fall. It will open in 2010.

Lester said area residents are reminded that a federal prison is much like a small city surrounded by the security of a fence and correctional officers. However, correctional officers aren’t the only positions to be hired.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons also is looking to hire doctors, nurses, food service supervisors, accountants, secretaries, case managers, information technology specialists, welders, maintenance worker supervisors and teachers, among other positions, according to a news release from the Mercer County Workforce West Virginia Career Center.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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