CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — In an effort to get more tech jobs, the House of Delegates has formed a bipartisan High-Tech Caucus, co-chaired by members of each political party. Today the group heard from West Virginia native John Chambers, who became one of the top executives in Silicon Valley when he ran Cisco Systems. Speaking by teleconference from California, Chambers says it’s time to teach the tech jobs.
“But it really comes back to education. It’s the equalizer of life. And do we have an education creating West Virginians and people who come to our universities from outside the state where they are trained in the jobs we use for technology?” said John Chambers, Former CEO Cisco Systems.
Another issue that came up was access. West Virginia has some of the worst broadband and cell phone connectivity in the nation.
“And getting the rest of West Virginia connected and I think it’s tremendously impactful. We need to continue those efforts to ensure that every West Virginian has access to high-speed broadband connectivity,” said Del. Moore Capito, Co-chair, (R) Kanawha – Technology Caucus.
Chambers praised his home state for the bipartisan focus on high-tech, saying the two parties must work together.
“I think for too long in this state we have feared what comes next and we haven’t taken bold action. It’s time we do that. The future of West Virginia is not a partisan issue, it’s a bipartisan issue and I think you are seeing that with our tech caucus,” said Del. Shawn Fluharty, Co-chair (D) Ohio – Technology Caucus.
The state is already fostering two high technology parks.
“There was also talk about more private sector investment. John Chambers of Cisco Systems has donated millions to his alma mater, WVU. And former Intuit CEO Brad Smith has given millions to Marshal University, where he graduated,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.