SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Twenty-one counties were represented today at the annual “Small Communities Big Solutions” Conference which is designed to improve education and economic growth for southern West Virginia.
Lawmakers, educators and community members attended the conference were ways to improve the quality of life in the region.
Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito both agree it starts with diversifying the economy.
“Southern West Virginia has mostly been the extraction part of our state, so we’ve lived and died by extraction, the coal industry is struggling, the market has dwindled, so with what we have to be kind of creative and look at diversification,” said Sen. Joe Manchin.
“And so we’re trying to look bigger in terms of bringing our West Virginians an education level to a point at which they can have a job in the area they love to live that can sustain them and their families,” Sen. Shelly Moore Capito.
Another topic discussed at the conference was the lack of broadband in Southern West Virginia that is creating a barrier to economic success.
Manchin advises West Virginians to check their own internet performance and speed using the free app and website Ookla that accurately measures your broadband. He asked that you report your results to his office so he can address it to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, D.C.