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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.
Those four local business owners shared why they made the decision to remain in West Virginia. The biggest driver for all of them was the sense of community. But also, because they found opportunity here in their chosen career path.
One of the speakers, Aneesh Sompalli, graduated from Martinsburg High School in 2006 and went on to study at both West Virginia University and Shepherd. He now manages an urgent care in Jefferson County.
“You have to have some kind of training or apprenticeship, whether that’s the traditional route of school or a vocational school, but there are jobs out there for people,” he said.
Sompali argues the state needs to put more focus on education to further diversify the economy and to keep young people here.
In the statehouse, a bill to make community and technical colleges free or more affordable after meeting certain qualifications has been moving rapidly through the legislative process.
According to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, three in-demand career paths in West Virginia that may only require a degree from a CTC are in healthcare, IT, and manufacturing fields.