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Businesses can help shape education in West Virginia, Nucor official says

By Fred Pace, HD Media

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The best role businesses can play in education is to provide a line of sight to job opportunities, says John Farris, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel West Virginia.

“We’ve got to provide targets for the kids in middle school and high school about what opportunities there are in West Virginia,” he said. “The opportunities are abundant. They’re not scarce. Business leaders and job creators need to be in front of the schools and provide those young children with a line of sight to opportunities in the workforce.”

Farris was one of the keynote speakers Wednesday for “EdTalks” hosted by the Education Alliance at Marshall University’s Brad D. Smith Center for Business & Innovation in Huntington.

“I have talked to students that are living with a scarcity mentality, which is not good and it’s not true,” he said. “The role of education is to prepare us to be able to carry the burden for future generations of West Virginians about the opportunities that exist all around and there are a lot. Share how abundant opportunities are. We don’t have to be cynical.”

Approximately 150 business, community, education and legislative leaders attended the event, themed “New Core Partnerships: Business and Community for West Virginia Students.”

Amelia Courts, president and chief executive officer of the Education Alliance, said the theme was a play on words with Nucor’s participation.

“We are grateful for Nucor, but really it’s about more than one single business partnership,” Courts said. “It’s about creating a spark among all businesses and all schools to really have that rich school and business partnership.”

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