CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — Bringing more high-tech jobs to West Virginia, and filling those that are already available here. That’s the main goal of the annual TechConnect Coding and Cyber Summit, in Charleston. And there is progress to report.
“We know there are already about 1,000 jobs open in West Virginia. What we want to do is get the word out that we can train students to fill those jobs. Or invite people to come back home, who maybe left the state, to work,” said Anne Barth, Executive Director, TechConnect West Virginia.
Many of the cyber jobs are in national defense, education, and government. But some of the biggest names in tech are coming. Facebook broke ground recently for a statewide internet pipeline, that will cross the Mountain State. Intuit opened operations in Bluefield this year with one-hundred jobs, that will grow to 500.
“We call it a ‘Prosperity Hub’ and it’s really all about giving back to help economically challenged parts of the country, come back. Help them have job growth, workplace of the future,” said Bernie McKay, Chief Public Policy Officer at Intuit.
Among those taking part, Marshall University computer science students, demonstrating their high-tech skills, and their optimism.
“I’m going to be working at the Department of Defense after I graduate, so there are so many opportunities out there. They’re snatching us up,” said Alex Canfield, a Marshall University student.
“My plans after school are to just work anywhere. Because my field is always looking for jobs, I have plenty of options after I graduate,” said Jacqueline Brown, a Marshall University student.
The TechConnect Summit will be the focus of this weekend’s Inside West Virginia Politics program.
With the legislature gathering at the Capitol in January, there will be bills to promote and expand tech in West Virginia, as well as a new bi-partisan Tech Caucus to support those efforts.