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The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University in partnership with Appalachian Power is seeking participation from employers, employees, educators and students as they conduct a workforce assessment and skills analysis for a 23-county region across West Virginia, according to a news release.

The survey assessment, known as West Virginia WIN (Workforce Innovation Now), is online at www.WestVirginiaWIN.org and will help assess the regional workforce to identify transferable skills and compatible occupations for unemployed and underemployed workers. From the website, scroll to the “surveys” section and select the appropriate category that best describes you.

The assessment will use input from employers, economic development partners, educators, students and the workforce at all levels as a vital component to determine employer needs and transferable skills of residents, particularly the unemployed and underemployed. It not only validates findings from quantitative research, but also provides unique data to share with business prospects that goes well beyond traditional data mining. The project website provides stakeholders access to a variety of ways to participate in the process, including online surveys for residents/job seekers, employers and students.

Counties include Boone, Logan, Ohio, Cabell, Marshall, Putnam, Clay, Mason, Raleigh, Fayette, McDowell, Roane, Greenbrier, Mercer, Summers, Jackson, Mingo, Wayne, Kanawha, Monroe, Wyoming, Lincoln and Nicholas.

Mike Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, said, “This study is an opportunity to ensure that our economic development and workforce partners are prepared to meet talent demands from our existing and potentially new employers. I strongly encourage employers, educators and residents across the region to engage in this effort and share your perspectives on the quality and availability of our workforce.”

“This in-depth analysis of the regional workforce will define the region’s workforce assets and challenges, as well as available training opportunities and future employment trends,” said Brad Hall, vice president of external affairs with Appalachian Power. “Additionally, our economic development partners across the region will have the data necessary to successfully compete for new jobs and investment in West Virginia.”

Boyette Strategic Advisors has been engaged to conduct the study. Using in-depth data analytics, Boyette is developing a series of recommended strategies to create a stronger workforce in the region by aligning and enhancing available programs and resources. This will further improve the region’s economic development competitiveness. In addition, the strategies will seek to ensure a workforce system that best meets the needs of current and future employers.

“When complete, the assessment will provide strategic recommendations for enhancing the area’s workforce and better preparing workers to meet the challenges of the future,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “With workforce as the single most important consideration for companies making location decisions, the data and recommendations resulting from West Virginia WIN will enhance our economic development competitiveness.”

The project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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