West Virginia needs to adapt to the changing job market before it is left behind


When Cindy took a job with a company that provides technical support to the United Way, her colleagues across the U.S. were dismayed at her regular difficulties connecting to the internet and how often the power went out in Greenbrier County. When the internet was down, or the power was out, she couldn't work. And, even worse, her coworkers, and bosses, across the country came to believe that West Virginia provided unreliable service to businesses. Unfortunately, it was true.

Many millennial workers function in a “gig economy,” in which, through the lack of access to  well-paying, full-time jobs, they work for themselves in a variety of creative jobs. As the job market changes, they are adapting. But, they simply cannot do that work in West Virginia without access to reliable, broadband internet. They have to go elsewhere.

Roads, bridges, a sound electrical grid and state-wide broadband access are crucial to the future of economic growth in this state. Accessible roads, a strong, reliable electrical grid and broadband internet access will bring businesses here, improving the economy and making it easier for the next generation to stay, work and raise their families here.

Throughout history, no matter how challenging it has been to live here, West Virginians have chosen to be here. We stay here because it is our home, and we must take care of our home by bringing it into the 21st Century.
— Cindy Lavender-Bowe