CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Find your passion, get an education and stay off drugs, and there will be a job waiting for you in West Virginia.
That was Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s message Thursday afternoon to students at Robert C. Byrd High School.
“We’re ushering in an era of change, one that will provide you with a great life here at home in West Virginia,” Tomblin told a cheering, standing-room-only crowd in the school’s auditorium.
The governor’s remarks incorporated the themes of the “My State, My Life” campaign, which encourages young West Virginians to pursue a postsecondary education for the jobs of the future.
Tomblin acknowledged the Mountain State’s struggles with brain drain — in which educated young people leave for better jobs elsewhere.
The factors contributing to the workforce exodus are ripe for change, with the state projecting 30,000 new jobs a year over the next four years, Tomblin said.
Those jobs will require a minimum of two years of education after high school, Tomblin said.
West Virginia offers a range of postsecondary education opportunities, from apprenticeships and two-year degree programs at community and technical colleges to four-year degree programs at colleges and universities, Tomblin said.
The state also offers a range of financial aid options, from the PROMISE Scholarship to low-interest loans, Tomblin said.
Tomblin also exhorted students to steer clear of drugs and alcohol.
“A skilled workforce is a clean workforce,” he said. “Substance abuse will not only get in the way of achieving your goals. It will get in the way of your pursuing long-term careers.”
Students also watched a video of the “My State, My Life” campaign…