Register-Herald, Bleckley, W. Va.
On alternative fuels:
State lawmakers learned recently that alternative fuels are catching on in West Virginia.
While this is a good development for our communities, the state and the environment, caution must be taken to make sure this new trend is made safe for all parties involved.
Speaking before state legislators, Bill Davis, director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium at West Virginia University, informed them that proper protocols need to be put in place to ensure that everyone supplying and using alternative fuels is doing so in the safest possible way.
Davis told the Joint Commission on Economic Development at the West Virginia Legislature that these alternative fuels are not more dangerous than traditional gasoline or diesel fuel, just different in the delivery systems.
Davis’ presentation comes at a time when alternative fuels are rising in usage across the state and the idea of implementing safety procedures before the big boom hits strikes us as a positive step.
With more and more vehicles hitting the road using natural gas and other alternative fuels, proper training procedures must be put in place to keep natural gas vehicles, facilities and their users safe.
We are glad that the Legislature’s economic development commission is listening to experts like Davis.
The benefits of making sure that proper tools and equipment are used at stations and that the people working them are trained in multiple phases can only help people use alternative-fueled vehicles.
By having properly trained individuals in the alternative fuel industry, jobs in this industry could grow in West Virginia. Certified individuals may find themselves employed at local businesses for the sole purpose of handling the delivery and distribution of these alternative fuels. …
The rising tide of alternative fuels can mean truly great things for our state — but only if all of the safety concerns are addressed allowing for a new industry to take a foothold in the Mountain State.
The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W. Va.,
On a more skilled workforce:
Each year, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce brings together business leaders and politicians to talk about what can be done to improve the Mountain State’s economy.
Changes in the state’s tax structure and improving the business climate are perennial topics at the chamber’s annual summit, and those surfaced again this week during the meetings at the Greenbrier Resort.
During a panel discussion, a leader in the chemical industry suggested that the state’s corporate tax rate was the single biggest barrier to bringing more manufacturing to West Virginia. A consultant to the natural gas industry pegged “regulatory uncertainty” as the top impediment. Clearly, the state has work to do in both areas.
But .. it is worth noting that the education and readiness of the West Virginia workforce has emerged as a top concern as well …
The West Virginia Department of Education is working to expand its new Simulated Workplace Initiative, which places career-center students with actual businesses to get hands-on experience and to see whether students are learning what they need to learn. The program currently has 21 projects and 3,000 students participating, but more business partners are needed, said Kathy D’Antoni, associate superintendent for the WVDOE. …
But West Virginia also needs to do more to inspire and challenge its best and brightest, some panelists said. Many other states have moved ahead with specialized programs and elite high schools, such as Kentucky’s The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Bowling Green, that nurture and challenge top high school students.
Developing that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) brain power is critical for the state, West Virginia University President Jim Clements told the chamber audience. …
The potential is there for more and betters jobs in the Mountain State, but West Virginians will need the right education and training to fill them.