CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Building on West Virginia’s strengths in industrial energy efficiency can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That is according to The West Virginia Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Industrial Energy Efficiency, a new report created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with West Virginia University. The JPB Foundation, Incite Labs, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Fung Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society funded the report.
“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on sector-based growth can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Kate Ringness, Lead Editor of The West Virginia Jobs Project. “By fostering the industrial energy efficiency industry in the state, West Virginia could reasonably support over 6,100 direct, indirect, and induced manufacturing and supply chain jobs, on average, annually from 2017 through 2030.”
Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, The West Virginia Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for West Virginians today and into the future, informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.
The report recommends state-specific policies and non-legislative solutions to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.
The West Virginia Jobs Project finds that:
- West Virginia holds a competitive advantage in the industrial energy efficiency industry, thanks to its:
- Top-notch research facilities such as the National Energy and Technology Laboratory and West Virginia University that perform cutting-edge research in energy efficiency
- Abundance of natural resources, providing plentiful feedstock for manufacturers of energy-efficient products
- Robust chemical manufacturing industry, including a number of large anchor companies, engaged in manufacturing and R&D for products along the industrial energy efficiency supply chain
- Readily available and skilled workforce
- Strategic centralized location within overnight trucking distance of approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population, providing in-state manufacturers and distributors the flexibility to tap into regional energy efficiency markets
- By building strong economic foundations that support industry growth, West Virginia’s industrial energy efficiency sector has the potential to employ an average of over 6,100 direct, indirect, and induced jobs annually from 2017 through 2030.
James Van Nostrand, director of West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, was an advisor to The West Virginia Jobs Project. Professor Nostrand stated, “The West Virginia Jobs Project includes many excellent recommendations to create jobs and economic opportunity within our state. In particular, the report addresses topics that desperately need attention in West Virginia: resources for entrepreneurs and industrial energy efficiency. Industrial energy efficiency can help West Virginia manufacturers reduce their energy costs and remain competitive in today’s marketplace. Adopting the recommendations offered by The West Virginia Jobs Project would put the state on a more sustainable path toward economic prosperity.”
The West Virginia Jobs Project offers policy recommendations that could help grow West Virginia’s industrial energy efficiency sector. These include:
- Strengthening and expanding the state’s foreign direct investment strategy
- Encouraging commercialization of cutting-edge research
- Developing relationships with national foundations engaging in program-related investment
- Creating tax incentives for investment in startups
- Aligning community college efforts with private sector needs
- Offering industrial energy efficiency tax incentives to manufacturers
“The West Virginia Jobs Project focuses on the job-creating potential of advanced energy, which has been a platform in TechConnect West Virginia’s Blueprint for technology-based growth since 2009,” said Anne Barth, Executive Director, TechConnect West Virginia. “In particular, the report highlights the industrial energy efficiency sector as one that holds promise for the state. Stakeholders can use this report to guide a productive dialogue about how to increase the number of jobs around energy efficiency and grow the advanced manufacturing economy in the state.”
The American Jobs Project website features reports on West Virginia and many other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for job growth in advanced energy industries. To learn more and download a copy of the West Virginia report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/west-virginia/.