The West Virginia Department of Economic Development joined the West Virginia Manufacturers Association and West Virginia University’s Mining and Industrial Extension for the Mountain State’s inaugural Manufacturing Summit in Morgantown. The event gathered industry representatives and manufacturers to discuss needs for continued progress and ways to remain a global leader in the diversifying industry.
“West Virginia has a rich history in manufacturing and an even brighter future in this diversifying industry,” said Mike Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Department of Economic Development. “Global companies continue to expand and relocate to the state because of our improving business climate and dedicated workforce.”
The state’s first manufacturing summit focused specifically on small to mid-sized manufacturers. This focus gave those small to mid-sized companies an opportunity to network with large manufacturers to share resources and learn best practices as they continue to expand and develop their existing operations in West Virginia.
“Manufacturing in West Virginia provides great jobs and offers competitive wages for our hardworking people,” said Rebecca McPhail, president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association. “With such competitive wages and an array of career opportunities, it’s no wonder West Virginia boasts a ranking of 1st in the nation for lowest turnover rate in the manufacturing industry.”
Among being ranked 1st in the United States for having the lowest turnover rate in manufacturing-specific jobs, West Virginia was also recently ranked 4th in the nation for lowest worker’s comp insurance rates.
“Our manufacturing companies have proved they are committed to the safety and the well-being of West Virginia workers,” continued Graney. “In addition to being in the center of shale development and natural gas production, we can also tout a world-class workforce to companies and small businesses who are looking for dedicated, trained employers to fill a skills gap.”
Another key theme of the inaugural manufacturing summit was the continued diversification of the industry. As technology evolves and demand in certain innovative tools and products increases, West Virginia’s manufacturing experts feel the state has the tools it needs to continue being a global industry leader.
“The manufacturing industry in West Virginia is very bright,” said Jerry Biser, director of the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. “In the past few years, we’ve seen not only manufacturers locating here, but also the downstream companies and supply chain operators following major companies to our state.”
To learn more about financial incentives and development assistance for manufacturing employers in the Mountain State, visit WestVirginia.gov/manufacturing.