CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Think you need a bachelor’s degree to get a good paying job these days? Think again. West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, a guest Monday on MetroNews Talkline, said there are plenty of jobs that pay much more than minimum wage, if you have the training.

“The notion that you have to have a four-year degree in order to have a good standard of living isn’t correct anymore. A lot of the jobs that are coming available and going unfilled require technical education, sometimes two-years or less in order to qualify,” stressed Burdette.

Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette says there are plenty of jobs available, you just need the skills to get hired.

The secretary used a certificate program for natural gas technicians at Pierpont and Northern community colleges as an example. Twelve people who recently graduated from the 2-year program are now all employed. Their average salaries are $70,000.

When it comes to West Virginia’s economy things are looking up according to Burdette. He said the state has one of the lowest business costs in the country where tax rates are now competitive. What Burdette said West Virginia is lacking is a large number of residents with the necessary skills.

“If folks are sitting around at home and saying, ‘I’ve got a high school diploma. I can’t find anything!’ They’re not hiring too many high school diploma folks anymore. They’re looking for people with advanced skill sets,” he said.

The challenge, he said, is getting people to understand the concept.

“If we’re going to compete we’ve got to convince the West Virginia workforce to get the proper training,” he stressed. “They’re loyal. They’re hard-working. The ones that have jobs are some of the best anywhere in the country and our companies continue to reaffirm that. But for those folks out there that want to engage in this economy, they’re going to have to get the skill sets to do it.”

For those who don’t know which direction to take, Burdette said there’s plenty of help out there. You can talk to job counselors or check in with you local community college. Not only are there plenty of programs to choose from, there’s also financial aid to make it happen.

Burdette said the more jobs here in state that can be filled with West Virginia workers, the better the economy.

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  • B Smith

    buddy....type error'

  • B Smith

    I have a BS Degree In Accounting. I have been looking for the last year for a job in Charleston West Virginia. Every person I know who did get a job in the last year had a friend with higher up pull for the job. MANY PEOPLE Do not have the degree needed. IT IS CALLED THE BUDY SYSTEM IS How many are hired !!

  • DWL

    We don't wear shoes. Everyone's DNA is the same! The TOOTH brush was invented here. All wives are our 1st cousins! We so dumb, we vote democratic every time! We do what ever the union boss man tell us to do. Our guvner is cousin Earl Ray. His family business is drug dealin.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    He actually used the phrase "skill set".

    Watching and paying way too much attention to ESPN's Ron Jaworski.

  • Gary Karstans

    Common core will help the unskilled get jobs.

    • Aaron

      I would ask for you to explain how further government control of our post secondary educational systems benefits adult workers looking to improve their skill set but I understand the question would be rhetorical as you are a propagandist blowhard, one I believe utilizing this anonymous moniker to hide your identity for the purpose of posting outrageous comments and are incapable of a reasonable conversation as you have this far demonstrated.

      It really is too bad though because this is but one of the conversations we as a society need to have for the benefit of all but avoid in favor of partisan, snarky jabs that the fringes of each party throws at the other while leaving the majority of Americans caught in their games.

      Sadly though, the majority is to blame because they refuse to participate in the process that would rid us of the rubes who leverage the Gary's of the world to promote their tripe.