New partnership between WVU, Auditor's Office, benefits students and municipalities

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - A handful of WVU graduate students had the chance to be the first in a pilot program between the West Virginia Auditor's Office and West Virginia University.

Some told us experience like this will help them prepare for their first-time job in a similar field. At the same time, they're doing real work and not just working for a grade inside a classroom.

The auditor's office gets the help they need, and the municipalities don't pay as much and taxpayer money isn't as much of a factor.

"What we had was a lack of state resources to get it done, a lack of city resources to get it done but what we were able to do was to find a solution that saves the taxpayers money, and gets the job done," said Auditor J.B. McCuskey. "At the same time, it gives students a really great real-world experience."

The first group of students is wrapping up the pilot program, and many feel it's been a positive experience and has served as a stepping stone for their careers.

"It's nice to be able to help the state of West Virginia and municipalities that may not be able to afford the monitoring that we did," said Erika Popp.

Another said it serves as a way to get real-world experience, specifically working on real cases and situations, versus just for a grade.

"It kind of made you care more about it," said Brandon Nicholas. "I was definitely more interested in it because it actually matters, it's not just a grade at the end of the day. You're actually helping a municipality in the state of West Virginia."

Both have called the Mountain State home even before their time at WVU. These two will continue their lives into their professional careers right here in West Virginia.

"I like the state, and I think it's going to be a great opportunity for other students to be able to realize that they actually might like staying here after graduation," Nicholas said.

McCuskey hopes this trend will keep on going to keep young people in the state.

"What we're hoping to do is to show these students how important and how fulfilling a job within public service can be," he said.