Rapidly, national business leaders are realizing our towns and cities are more than great places to enjoy the great outdoors and leisurely pursuits. West Virginia is a great place to do business, as we have a workforce and a lifestyle that is second to none.
West Virginia continues to build upon our highly skilled, dedicated, and educated workforce members and leaders. We must focus on making sure our children become the very best they can be by completing a rigorous education. I believe we are on this path but more needs to be done.
This year, I have travelled the state visiting our community and technical colleges and have presented them with the College Completion Challenge. This challenge is a call to action developed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Community College Trustees. As President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, this challenge, to increase college completion rates, is very near and dear to my heart. While community and technical colleges play a key role in moving the state forward, it is going to take all educational entities working together to achieve success.
We are seeing more and more West Virginians pursue postsecondary credentials, but many fall short of their goal, graduation. Our state’s future economy depends upon our students’ successful completion of college. Current and future industries will require advanced degrees and highly skilled workers. West Virginians must be ready to lead these industries and provide the highly qualified employees that such workplaces demand. We can do so by encouraging our college students to complete their studies. We also must work with business and industry representatives, and college officials to determine how we can achieve this goal at every community college throughout West Virginia.
I am proud to say during my five week tour of West Virginia’s community and technical colleges, good ideas were generated. I will continue to work with each stakeholder in this challenge so our wonderful state’s reputation as a great place to work, live, and play continues to spread throughout this country and the world.