Times West Virginian
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has released the West Virginia Edge Business Report.
The report documents the state’s economic progress.
The August 2012 report highlights projects and related announcements from businesses that will assist with the creation of new jobs and the preservation of existing jobs.
Macy’s opens fulfillment center
Tomblin joined numerous local, state and company dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the new Macy’s fulfillment center in Martinsburg. The 1.3 million-square-foot center supports Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s growing online sales.
The $150 million center is expected to create 900 permanent full-time, 300 permanent part-time and 700 temporary seasonal jobs within the next five years. Employees began filling orders received from Macy’s online sales on June 29.
American Woodmark announces jobs
American Woodmark plans to invest $15.2 million in the building and equipment for its South Branch manufacturing operation in Moorefield. The expansion includes the creation of 187 jobs over the next three years.
American Woodmark Corp. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of kitchen and bath cabinets for the remodeling and new home construction markets.
Teams to stimulate industry growth
TechConnectWV, the Allegheny Conference (Pittsburgh) and URS Corp. are working together to grow the region’s energy industries.
International technology firm URS will use support services from nonprofits TechConnectWV and the Allegheny Conference to link National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) capabilities with industry needs. TechConnectWV and Allegheny Conference will also partner to identify NETL technologies ready to be commercialized.
WVU receives $3 million
West Virginia University has received a $3 million grant from the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program of the National Science Foundation.
The five-year grant for the project Research and Education in Nanotoxicity at WVU, or REN@WVU, will support fellowship trainees studying how nanomaterials interact with biological systems such as people and the environment. Nanomaterial refers to extremely small particles, between 1 nanometer and 100 nanometers, or about 40,000 times smaller than the width of an average human hair.
Nanomaterial applications range from sunscreen to medical imaging.
“Forward-looking” programs cited
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released its National Chamber Foundation report Enterprising States 2012 on what makes certain states attractive places to locate, relocate and expand in today’s economy.
The report noted that West Virginia “has developed forward-looking programs and infrastructure to address the workforce and skills needs of the 21st century.” The study cited West Virginia strengths such as the StartUP West Virginia program, administered by TechConnectWV; the early-stage investment capital program INNOVA Commercialization Group; and Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC), the nonprofit center for research scientists and technicians working with public, private and educational-sector partners to conduct advanced research with commercial potential.
The state’s initiatives aimed at increasing the skills required in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are showing results, the analysis reports, as “West Virginia’s STEM workforce has grown 3.9 percent since 2007, more than five times the national rate.”
The Enterprising States 2012 is available online at http://ncf.uschamber.com/library/enterprising-states/west-virginia.
Felman celebrates 60th anniversary
State and local dignitaries joined Felman Production executives and employees in New Haven to celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary recently.
The Mason County manufacturer produces high quality ferroalloys, essential in the production of steel. The plant is one of only two facilities in the United States that produces ferroalloy silicomanganese, a critical alloying element that increases tensile strength and other valuable traits.
The Felman plant employs more than 250 people.
WVEDA approves $2.7 million loan
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority (WVEDA) approved a loan totaling $2,745,000 for a Hurricane-based company during its July meeting:
• OODA LLC, $2,745,000, to finance the purchase of Building 6000 in the West Virginia Regional Technology Park, South Charleston, Kanawha County. A portion of the facility will be leased to Alpha Technologies, a company related through common ownership. Alpha Technologies plans to provide voice and data services for the Tech Park and add 50 jobs over the next three years.
Job postings increase 10 percent
Employers posted 12,764 jobs orders with WorkForce West Virginia in the past fiscal year, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. The postings included 32,875 positions, an increase of 21 percent from the previous year.
Employers can find information on posting jobs and looking for qualified workers by visiting www.workforcewv.org.
State industries promoted
The West Virginia Development Office recently participated in several trade shows to promote state industries. Events included the IOGA Equipment Show in Buckhannon; Windpower 2012 in Atlanta; the IPRC chemical and natural gas show in Milan, Italy; the 2012 American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Show in Los Angeles, featuring new science and technology in clinical diagnostics, automation, information systems, point-of-care, OEM and biotechnology; and the Achema chemical show in Frankfurt, Germany.
The WVDO team also participated in the 2012 Bio International Convention in Boston as part of a joint effort with the West Virginia Bio Association, West Virginia University, Marshall University HADCO and West Virginia biotechnology companies. Hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the conference attracted 16,505 industry leaders from 49 states and 65 countries.
In August, WVDO will participate jointly in two shows. WVDO will team with the state Division of Forestry at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta and will be joined by the Polymer Alliance Zone at the Global Polymer Innovation Expo in Columbus, Ohio.
FSU forges collaboration
Fairmont State University (FSU) is partnering with IBM to prepare its graduates to be among the next generation of mainframe experts.
The IBM Academic Initiative matches graduates’ information technology skills with workforce needs. FSU is the state’s sole university participating in the initiative. The partnership will integrate into FSU’s curricula the IBM programs that will enhance internship and career opportunities for its students.
The company recently provided faculty with training in how to use IBM technology in the classroom effectively and to prepare students to be leaders in the industry.
West Virginia receives award
The College Board recently presented West Virginia with the 2012 AP Beacon Award “for its dedication to increasing student achievement and college readiness through the Advanced Placement Program.”
Two years ago, the state started working with the College Board to get more students involved in the courses that would give them a jump-start on college. A special focus was put on low-income and minority students.
West Virginia’s high school student participation in AP has grown from 9 percent in 2001 to 20.5 percent in 2011.