CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says the state must work together to ensure West Virginia students are in school all 180 instructional days throughout the school year.

Gov. Earl Ray TomblinGov. Earl Ray Tomblin

“Every kid matters in West Virginia and we got to do everything we can as parents, as business (leaders), as school leaders to make sure the kids are there,” Tomblin said as part of his education agenda during his final year in office.

Tomblin addressed nearly 250 business, community and education leaders Monday at the Education Alliance’s 2015 Education Summit in Charleston.

One of the ways the state is tackling ways to improve student achievement is through a program called “My State. My Life.” for eighth grade students before entering high school, Tomblin said.

“It really encourages students to think about a career, even though graduation may be four long years away. Today’s the day in the eighth grade you need to be trying to figure out where you’re going so you can get the right training to go on to college or to get into a training program to be a successful adult in West Virginia,” he said.

Tomblin said workforce development plays a major role in working hand in hand with education, which he believes, makes for a successful community.

“It not only tells the educators what skills that their students need to have when they come out to have successful jobs, but it also can provide financial support or mentoring for students,” he said.

The state is also working to help laid off West Virginians, Tomblin added.

“We’ve got lots of money to train and retrain our people who are laid off, especially in the coal fields of West Virginia, not only for miners, but for their families or anyone else who has lost their job,” he said. “We’re doing a whole lot of things with it.”

Tomblin said he plans to have a ‘pretty aggressive program’ for the state Legislature to consider come January.

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