CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he’s hopeful Governor-elect Jim Justice will keep the governor’s Workforce Planning Council in place.

Tomblin chaired the council’s meeting for the final time Tuesday afternoon. He re-established and re-constituted the council in 2013. He said a lot has changed with workforce development since then.

“It’s not that silo that I found when I came in as governor but it’s a group of people working together that have been able to sit down, solve problems and come to agreements on how we can best train the people of West Virginia,” Tomblin said.

Those around the table Tuesday, like state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, said Tomblin’s reworking of the council was the initial step in creating a better trained workforce in West Virginia.

“I often tell the story that one of the first things that Governor Tomblin did was fire everybody on the panel and start over,” Burdette said.

Tomblin said he’s now confident that if someone wants a job in West Virginia the state has a training program to help them. He said he hopes Governor-elect Jim Justice keeps the council in place.

“It would be great for the governor or some top official in the governor’s office would continue with the council. It’s been very beneficial,” Tomblin said.

According to Burdette, the top question he always receives from businesses he and others are recruiting to West Virginia is about the trained workforce.

“It ranks number-1 with every CEO, every project consultant, everybody that is focused on helping a business grow or relocate, that’s number-1 on their list,” Burdette said.

According to the governor’s office notable achievements of the panel include:

Notable achievements of the Council include:

–Implementation of policies and initiatives, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reform, WV Works, justice reinvestment, felon surety bond and juvenile justice and the Governor’s STEM Initiative;

–Launch of education and workforce programs, including My State. My Life., Learn and Earn, Career Pathways, Simulated Workplace, Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship, the Minority Business Expo, Dual Credit and Statewide College Credit Transfer;

–Establishment of retraining efforts and funding , including the Southern West Virginia Workforce Initiative, Veterans Training Programs, WV Bridging the Gap Consortium, Sector Strategies Job Training Website and Let’s Train WV.

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