May 09, 2016

Not giving up on southern WV | Charleston Gazette-Mail

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has been pushing and promoting a series of job fairs around the state. The fourth was in Logan on Friday, where a long trail of cars wound their way to Chief Logan Lodge, and hundreds of people gathered to learn about opportunities with about 135 employers.

Among the employers were Amazon, Toyota, Gestamp, Constellium Rolled Products, Frontier, healthcare companies and several branches of the U.S. military.

As staff writer Andrew Brown recounted, people who have been laid off from good-paying mine jobs, who have mortgages and who are not eager to leave hometowns and families, may find jobs, but they require extended absence from home, relocation, or do not pay enough.

Others struggle to apply via computer rather than pen and paper, or pass by employers such as Logan Regional Medical Center. The hospital was looking for 18 full-time employees on Friday, but it needs surgical technicians and registered nurses, very skilled positions requiring particular credentials.

Their experience highlights the overdue need for substantial job training opportunities connected to specific job needs — and help for people with families and responsibilities to complete substantial training programs without losing a house or a car in the meantime.

Still, Manchin’s office knows of 25 people who found jobs through one of the earlier fairs, which are organized by his office, Workforce West Virginia and various economic development agencies and schools.

Sen. Manchin, a cheerleader for coal through his whole career, was booed by out-of-work miners and struggling coalfield residents last week while visiting the region with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

But he was back in Logan at the job fair on Friday. We commend him for working to bring people together with the opportunities that do exist, and for offering encouragement that seemed to be aimed at those looking for work, at himself and everyone else: “You can’t give up,” he said.

By:  Editorial