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BYRD’S EYE VIEW: Building Tomorrow’s Jobs Today

Posted by kinchendavid on August 15, 2006

From the desk of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-WV

Washington, DC  — West Virginia’s economy has long been based in strong core industries — industries like coal, steel, timber, and chemicals. I have worked hard to expand the opportunities for these industries, opening new doors for West Virginia products and standing up for the men and women who earn their living by the sweat of their brow. These industries employ tens of thousands of West Virginians and are central to the future of our state.

But none of us should ever be satisfied with “good enough.” I believe that, in this global marketplace, West Virginia must have an innovative economy, one that relies on brain power as much as muscle. West Virginia, like the rest of the country, must adapt to the changing realities of the global marketplace and respond with creative approaches to job creation and growth.

Through my work for West Virginia in the Senate, I have planted the seeds of this innovation economy throughout the state. High-tech initiatives underway in Summers County are prime examples of this effort. Partnering with local officials and Congressman Nick Rahall, I worked to obtain $3.6 million in federal funds, matched by state funding, to construct a new four-story, 72,000 square-foot high-tech office building. The new facility will serve as a unique jobs engine, helping to grow the city’s workforce and provide an economic shot in the arm for the entire region.

Already, high-tech companies are taking note of these efforts. A pair of companies — ManTech Corporation and Information Manufacturing Corporation — have recognized that West Virginia’s mountains can be traversed with fiberoptic lines, and West Virginia’s people are ready to take on the challenges of the new economy. These two companies are putting West Virginians to work, and their success can provide the blueprint for other high-tech companies looking to compete in the Mountain State. I recently dedicated this new high-tech facility with Summers County residents. We have a great deal to celebrate — a proud heritage and a bright future.

From powering the country’s economy with clean-burning Mountain State coal, to advances in medicine, to new manufacturing techniques, to breakthrough computer technologies, the nation is in the midst of a technological revolution, and West Virginia is helping to shape it. The foundations that we build and the opportunities that we create certainly will provide benefits for us today. At the same time, these foundations will help to develop new industries and new jobs for many decades to come.

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