More than 100 people turned out for the Wheeling Economic Outlook Conference Wednesday at Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack.
This year, the focus was on energy, from consumption to production and impact on the local economy.
The director of business and economic research at WVU said there are still a lot of questions about the natural gas boom here.
But one thing is clear, it is growing.
He said production has grown 35-percent each year for the past four years.
But he said they don’t have good numbers on how many of the workers are from out of state, as opposed to local.
“But the fact of the matter is, if you just come here for a month and then you go back home to Texas and you take your money back to Texas, it’s not going to help the overall West Virginia economy as much compared to a situation where the workers are living in West Virginia full time, spending that money at the movie theater, at the restaurant, at the car dealership in West Virginia,” said WVU Business & Economic Research Director John Deskins.
Deskins said West Virginia’s colleges have a responsibility to offer the necessary courses.
He said it all comes down to whether West Virginia’s workers are available, skilled, and ready to step into those jobs.
He said many local colleges are already providing that training.