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Higher ed group focus on Southern West Virginia

Staff report

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Ten higher education institutions across West Virginia recently formed an alliance to promote the economic development of communities across the state’s southern coalfields.

Dubbed the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, the group hopes to improve the economy of a 21-county region.

The group has a broad mission, which, according to a news release, is “to better connect the educational resources and workforce training offered in Southern West Virginia to promote the region, eliminate redundancies and share best practices, improve the quality of life for area residents, create jobs and revitalize southern communities.”

The group announced its plan last week during a press conference in Gov. Jim Justice’s Cabinet room. The group plans to follow a 10-step plan that includes things like increasing broadband access and identifying industrial sites for new business to access in the southern part of the state.

“The Alliance’s main goal is to learn about existing resources in regard to education services, workforce training, the talent pool, available business sites, and willing partners in Southern West Virginia, and to promote and utilize these resources in a meaningful way that will create jobs, enhance the state’s business sector and competitive edge, ensure workers have access to the latest training and technology, build long-lasting partnerships and, ultimately, revitalize small Southern West Virginia communities,” according to a news release announcing the endeavor.

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