Economy

courtesy Mike Costello

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll travel to the sugar shacks of Appalachian maple producers, and we’ll learn how to use syrup in everything from glazed greens to buttermilk ice cream – and even roasted rabbit. 

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Federal funds have been awarded to four West Virginia organizations focused on economic development.

Those four agencies include the Region 7 Planning and Development Council, the Planning and Development Councils in both the Eastern Panhandle and the Mid-Ohio Valley, and the Marshall University Research Corporation. The groups will split an award of $310,000.

Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

Bottles of bourbon make their way through the assembly line at Maker’s Mark, one of ten distilleries on the Kentucky bourbon trail. They’re cleaned, filled, capped and then dipped in the company’s signature red wax, a tradition that started with the wife of the distillery’s founder, Bill Samuels.

Courtesy WVHEPC

More than 150 employers, including Facebook, are looking for workers in West Virginia. College students, graduates and area residents who are interested in work opportunities in West Virginia are encouraged to attend a job fair in Raleigh County.

Courtesy CWA

A Georgia man has been accused of pulling a pistol and telling a striking Frontier Communications worker in West Virginia "don't mess with me."

About 1,400 union members at Frontier Communications have gone on strike in West Virginia and parts of Virginia after a contract extension expired.

The Communications Workers of America says its members in District 2-13 went on strike early Sunday, March 4. Negotiations between the union and company have been ongoing since last May and a contract extension expired Saturday.

Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission reports supporting 55 projects in West Virginia with nearly $19 million in the 2017 fiscal year.

Chuck Roberts

Administrators in higher education across southern West Virginia are joining forces to invest in economic development in the region. The initiative began at Marshal University and quickly spread to schools like Concord University in Mercer County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have the latest from the Capitol on the ongoing teacher walk-out and protest at in Charleston. With the continued approach of county school officials remaining in question, the potential of legal action to be decided by the state board of education and legislative deadlines looming, educators and school workers yet again plan to head to the Capitol in Charleston to rally lawmakers for better pay and health care benefits.

Adobe Stock

Every October, Gilbert  -- population 475 -- swells with visitors as 5,000 people come for TrailFest, which markets itself as one the premier ATV events on the East Coast. The tourism surrounding the Hatfield-McCoy Trail has helped make the Mingo County town one of the fastest-growing in the area.

Having reliable Internet access here is critical to building the local economy, said Gilbert Mayor Vivian Livingood, who said described the service as "snail-paced."

Benny Becker/ WMMT

For many years we thought that black lung was a disease of the past. But it has actually stricken a whole new generation of miners, and in some ways, it’s worse than before. 

Courtesy ICE

With Congress in a heated immigration debate, the Ohio Valley region is adding to its immigration courts. Sources within the Justice Department say Kentucky will have a new immigration court operating in Louisville as soon as April, and Ohio is adding additional judges to handle deportations and other immigration cases.

Recent immigration changes and heated rhetoric have left many people in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia with an uncertain future and lawyers and courts with a backlog of cases.

Rosa’s Story

Christopher Ziemnowicz / CZmarlin / wikimedia Commons

A recent report ranks one university in West Virginia among the top 50 public colleges where undergrads receive the most scholarship aid.

According to a study released by The Student Loan Report, a limited liability private company, Concord is ranked 49th out of 250 public college of universities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We’ve fielded quite a few questions from people throughout the region who want to know more about a major deal the State of West Virginia struck with China Energy, the largest energy company in China. Glynis Board recently sat down with the director of WVU’s Energy Institute to get more insight into how this deal was made and what the implications might be. 


Touchstone Research Lab

Brian Joseph from Ohio County, West Virginia, has dedicated his professional life to innovation, reimagining and retooling old materials in the region with new technologies. 

Aneesh Sompalli (center) speaking at a Gereration West Virginia event in Shepherdstown.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Generation West Virginia’s local Eastern Panhandle chapter hosted a panel discussion at Shepherd University Thursday night with four young locals who decided to stay in West Virginia to build their careers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we conclude our series Appalachia Innovators with a story about an entrepreneur from Ohio County who has dedicated his professional life to re-imagining and retooling old materials in the region with new technologies. Glynis Board reports.

John Nakashima/ WVPB

On a recent weekday, in a renovated building in downtown Huntington, 22-year-old Jacob Howell was among 20 people working at a laptop in a sunlit office. Senior web developers sat shoulder-to-shoulder with new employees at long tables. There wasn’t a cubicle in sight.


 

Howell, a Hurricane native, wasn’t sure where he might end up after graduating last year from Marshall University.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, people are leaving West Virginia at an alarming rate. From 2016 to 2017, more than 15,000 people left the state, or about 41 people per day. This trend is putting a strain on local businesses, making it tough for employers to find skilled, educated workers. As part of our Appalachian Innovators Series, Roxy Todd has the story of one organization that is trying to tackle this problem in a new way.

Pa. Trail Initiative Could Provide Roadmap for Some Struggling W.Va. Towns

Feb 7, 2018
The West Newton, Pa., rail trail.
Photo courtesy of The Trail Town Program

There’s a national storyline that’s told about parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It goes something like this: As the steel and coal industries fade, small towns are dying out. Young people move away because there’s a lack of jobs.

But for the past 20 years, some entrepreneurs have quietly been working on a different narrative -- one that harnesses the region’s natural beauty to build the economy. Their slow climb is starting to bear real fruit.

WVPB/ Janet Kunicki

Gwynn Guilford is a reporter for Quartz, a business news site. She specializes in writing about the economy. Guilford spent 10 months researching Appalachia’s economy for an article called “The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal”. Guilford dug into the history of the region’s economic ties to the coal industry, and the long-term effects this relationship has had on the people who live and are determined to stay in Appalachia.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Roxy Todd spoke with Guilford about her report.


Procter & Gamble Headquarters in Cincinnati, OH.
Derek Jensen / wikimedia Commons / user: Tysto

Officials from Procter and Gamble have announced additional products will be manufactured at the Martinsburg plant and, as a result, more employees will be needed.

Since construction began in 2015 for West Virginia’s Procter and Gamble plant, the organization estimated a need for 700 full-time employees to be hired by 2019.

Peabody Energy, Inc.
Wikimedia Commons

At a recent conference in Lexington, Kentucky, economists and community leaders gathered to talk about the state’s current budget crunch and possible economic future. Peter Hille, president of Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, said Kentucky and other Appalachian states need to do more to build a new economy and move from dependence on a single source.

“Because coal played such a dominant role, it took the oxygen out of the room for the development of other sectors of the economy,” he said.

Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

When you picture the Appalachian Coalfields, you might think of those scenic photographs of mist rising from the mountains. But there are the less picturesque landscapes too -- views of mountaintops that have been stripped away from coal mining. Imagine if these barren landscapes were covered with purple fields of lavender.

Elk, Standing Elk
Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of elk rounded up in grasslands of a northern Arizona wildlife area are waiting to be trucked to a new home in West Virginia.

Sandy Hamilton, Executive Director of the Berkeley County Development Authority.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Berkeley County is one of the fastest growing counties in West Virginia. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2013 and 2016, the population grew by 4,300 people. It’s also the second most-populated county in the state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, The Legislature Today host Andrea Lannom speaks with John Deskins, the director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, about the state’s economy – the hits it's taken, the challenges still ahead and the investments needed to make desired returns. We have a portion of the that interview, which was taped live from the Capitol on Tuesday evening.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom sits down with John Deskins, the Director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research to talk about the state’s economy, the hits it's taken, the challenges still ahead, and the investments we need to make for desired returns.

Elk
CommonsHelper2 Bot / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia's fledgling elk herd will get another boost from a recreation area in Kentucky.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan and Mingo counties will receive 17 elk from Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky.

Chuck Hampe working on his 64,872nd table base -- his last -- before he retired from Gat Creek after 31 years.
Jean Snedegar

On the campaign trail and in his first State of the State address in February 2017, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice talked about boosting furniture manufacturing in West Virginia. 

One of the most successful furniture manufacturers in the state is in Berkeley Springs.

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