Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September 25, 2007

Track to hold job fair at Civic Center

Owners of Tri-State Racetrack and Gaming Center in Nitro will host a job fair to start hiring the hundreds of workers that will be needed when the track expands.

The job fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Charleston Civic Center, said racetrack General Manager Cathy Brackbill.

“We’re going to stay late so people who work during the day can come,” Brackbill said Monday.
Last month, Kanawha County voters approved the expansion of gambling at Tri-State to allow casino-style table games like poker and blackjack. Track owners plan a $250 million expansion project at the track that includes a hotel, conference center and entertainment complex.

Track owners say the expansion will create about 1,000 jobs, though Brackbill said Monday it could be more. Those who will eventually be hired include about 300 card dealers for the new games.

Brackbill urged anyone “even remotely interested” in being a card dealer to come to the fair to learn about the jobs. No card dealers will be hired Oct. 10, because all applicants must first pass a six-week training program. The hiring process and training program will be explained at the job far.

Brackbill said Tri-State plans to hire the first batch of 80 card dealers in time for the track to open 42 poker tables by mid-January. “This is the first phase of the hiring that we will do,” she said. “This is the first portion of the 1,000 people we will hire.”

Brackbill said pay rates for new dealers at the track have yet to be negotiated. But she said dealers can expect to make $34,000 to $36,000 a year, including tips.

She said track owners will look to hire some people immediately to fill existing vacancies and vacancies that will be created when some Tri-State staff members decide to become dealers.

Brackbill said Tri-State staff will be looking for interested employees for a dozen job areas at the track, including food and beverage workers, marketing, surveillance, security, racing, human resources, business administration, table gaming, slot machines, auditing and the money room.

Track owners hope to break ground on the expansion project by the end of the year, Brackbill said.
Construction is expected to take about 18 months.

To contact staff writer Rusty Marks, use e-mail or call 348-1215.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

INNOVA, Kauffman Foundation and WV SBDC announce business and entrepreneurship program in Charleston

10-week program, hosted by Jackson Kelly PLLC, helps small businesses develop business plan and growth strategies

The FastTrac® GrowthVenture™ entrepreneurial and business education program will be offered in Charleston beginning October 9 at Jackson Kelly’s law offices in Laidley Tower at 500 Lee Street. The program includes one session each week from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. for 10 weeks.

FastTrac® is a practical, hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs hone the skills needed to create, manage and grow a successful business. FastTrac® participants don’t just learn about business, they live it. They work on their own business ideas or ventures throughout the program — moving their ventures to reality or new levels of growth. FastTrac® is one of America’s leading entrepreneurial training programs and remains on the cutting edge by providing programs that are written by entrepreneurs, facilitated by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.

Tuition for the program is $1,100. Participants who successfully complete the program may qualify for a refund of at least 50 percent of their paid tuition by the SBDC. To register for the Charleston FastTrac® program or for further information, email INNOVA at or call Patrick Gregg at 304.333.6773.

The program will be facilitated by members of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) who have been certified by the Kauffman Foundation. The SBDC forged a partnership recently with INNOVA® and the Kauffman Foundation to provide FastTrac® programs across West Virginia.

The FastTrac® program is offered by the INNOVA® Commercialization Group (INNOVA®), an initiative of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation, and is a leading edge program developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City.

INNOVA® Director Greg Clutter said the program is gaining momentum because of the recent partnership with SBDC and the reputation of FastTrac’s success around the globe. “Perhaps the best thing about FastTrac® is that it is an established program known around the world. It is offered in all 50 states and on three continents, and the early results of programs held in West Virginia tell us that FastTrac® graduates have increased revenues and spawned job creation.”

Visit these websites for more information:
FastTrac®Program: Kelly PLLC:

Job Opportunity
Sales Professionals Needed
American Micro Tech is a growing Security/IT company looking for experienced B2B sales professionals for the Charleston, Huntington, & Parkersburg markets. Click here for job description.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Job Opening
West Virginia Outreach Coordinator

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic®, a nonprofit that provides recorded textbooks to students who have print disabilities, seeks an organized self-starter part-time for Eastern and Southern West Virginia as Outreach Coordinator to make our service available to students and schools in West Virginia. Anticipated start date is October 15, 2007.

This position coordinates and executes educational outreach activities designed to build awareness of RFB&D services and increase utilization of these services. Some main responsibilities are: increase utilization of RFB&D services through a comprehensive program of outreach to public and private schools, colleges and individuals with print disabilities; increase RFB&D’s visibility in the professional educational community at conferences and seminars, in publications, meetings and other appropriate venues; provide staff support to Speaker’s Bureau; assist local schools and students with inquiries regarding services; serve as local member service representative for schools, teachers and students participating in outreach projects; develop and maintain database of local organizations, members and resources. Assist Member Services Coordinator in submitting timely reports on grant activity in local area and assist in identifying and securing funds for local outreach initiatives.

The ideal candidate for this part-time position would have a college degree with education and/or sales background. Excellent organizational, interpersonal, management and communication skills required. Strong computer skills are critical to the success of the program. This is primarily a sales/service position and extensive travel in Eastern or Southern West Virginia is required. Reliable transportation and driver’s license is a must. Send resume with salary requirements to David Bell, WV State Director, via email to or fax to 304-824-3672.

Support Kanawha County Schools; make a difference in a child's life

Kanawha County Schools will be holding Math Field Day on February 8, 2008 for secondary schools, and on February 15, 2008 for elementary schools. Both at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

This is an academic competition involving the top math students from each Kanawha County School. The students competing will range from fourth graders to high school seniors. First place winners from each level will advance to the regional level and then on to the state level.

This program has been conducted with very little funding. In the past, top scoring students were only awarded a certificate, and first place students were recognized with a small trophy. In addition, students have had to bring a bag lunch, or purchase their own lunch at one of the limited fast food restaurants in the immediate area. However, this year, the goal is to provide a free lunch for all participants.

Kanawha County Schools is seeking a lunch sponsor for this program. The school system anticipates between 300-500 participants. To feed this number of students, the cost of catering by Emmanuel Baptist Church is estimated to be between $2,100 and $2,450.

This is a great opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life and show them how much they are appreciated for all of their hard work and their achievement in their academics.

In addition, Kanawha County Schools is asking for donated items to fill a goody bag. Items needed include pencils, pens, notepads, clips and other items that would be put to good use by the students.

It is important to acknowledge our students in Kanawha County that are academically talented. Your donation and support will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged by Kanawha County Schools.

For additional information, contact Crystal Godbey at 304-348-6611;

The Education and Workforce Development division of the Charleston Area Alliance collaborates with the school system to build relationships with the business community to enhance and support projects such as this, and to provide a solid foundation for the students of Kanawha County.

August Housing Sub-Committee meeting minutes available

The Housing Sub-Committee of the Charleston Area Alliance's Young Professionals met on August 15, 2007 at the offices of The Boulevard at 2412. Click here to download the minutes from this meeting.

To learn more about the Charleston Area Alliance Young Professionals, click here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Alliance to participate in National Manufacturing Week

Representatives from the Charleston Area Alliance will attend the 2007 National Manufacturing Week (NMW) Exposition and Convention in Chicago, Illinois. The NMW show, held from September 24-27, is the only event in the U.S. for engineering teams, executives, and practitioners responsible for the entire manufacturing endeavor, from design, to the manufacturing process, to customer fulfillment and business success.

The Charleston Area Alliance is attending the exposition with Applied Computing and Engineering, Inc. (AC&E) who recently opened their sales and software development office in Charleston WV.
AC&E Ltd., a UK engineering software development company, delivers simulation solutions to leading engineering organizations. Their software uses highly visual simulation for programming and verification of Robots, CNC machines and co-ordinate measurement machines.
AC&E recently opened its US sales and marketing office in Charleston; a unique location chosen to service major organizations in the US East Coast and Midwest.
AC&E will launch ‘Look Ahead’, a novel approach to manufacturing improvement where simulations are run concurrently with, but ahead of production processes. Their clients include Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Ford, Mercedes, Spirit Aerosystems, and Ingersoll.
Take a look at the exhibitor's list below. If you see a company represented that you do business with, let us know at

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Governor releases September “Open for Business” Report

Governor Joe Manchin released the latest “Open for Business” report documenting the state’s economic progress. The September 2007 report highlights projects and related announcements that will assist with the creation of new jobs and the preservation of a significant number of existing jobs.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Charleston Area Alliance is now accepting applications for the Leadership Kanawha Valley 2007-08 session. Applicants may be self-sponsored and self-nominated. In addition, community members may nominate individuals with leadership qualities for the program.

Hurry, only 35 seats available!
Classes will begin in October and will run through May, meeting once a month. Tuition is $495 per participant and includes all necessary supplies, meals, and admission to many Alliance events.

Click here to download the application.

This program is sponsored by Chesapeake Energy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Return on your Investment

By Jack Rossi, Chairman of the Board and Matthew Ballard, President

There are many reasons to be a member of the Charleston Area Alliance. There’s the tremendous pride that comes from knowing that your membership investment is helping to build a more vibrant community and prosperous economy. Member-supported Alliance projects such as the Capitol Market, recruitment and retention of 600 jobs at CASCI, funding the utility infrastructure for Corridor G for development, creation of 100 jobs at Telespectrum, and providing an incubator for entrepreneurs to grow their new business ventures (just to name a few) have enhanced the economy and quality of life for everyone in our region.

The pro-business policies advocated by our Chamber of Commerce have helped reduce business taxes, increased funding for science and research at our higher education institutions, increased funding for safe roads and infrastructure and helped maintain funding for emergency response, EMS, and public transit. These accomplishments alone are a good reason to invest in the Alliance. There is another way that membership in the Charleston Area Alliance can help you and your business directly through increased revenue. That’s right, increased revenue. How?

A recent survey of more than 2,000 adults nationwide found that chamber membership can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. The survey, conducted by two consulting organizations, “The Schapiro Group” and “Market Street Services” (the consulting group for the creation of the Charleston Area Alliance and Vision Shared in West Virginia), was commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, with support from the Small Business Network Inc.

Here at the Alliance, we already know that membership can translate to increased sales and revenue. Earlier this month, for example, a new downtown business received nine solid business leads one day after the Alliance helped stage a ribbon cutting event. But don’t just take it from us. Here’s what the national survey of consumers found:

-If a company shows that it is highly involved in its local chamber, consumers are 12 percent more likely to think that its product stacks up better against the competition.
-When consumers know a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber, they are 40 percent more likely to eat at the franchise.
-When consumers know an insurance company is a member of the chamber, they are 43 percent more likely to consider buying insurance from that
business .
-When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.

And remember, this survey only measured public attitudes towards business members of organizations that function solely as chambers of commerce. Our community has taken the progressive step of merging our economic development, community development and chamber of commerce into one organization, making your Alliance membership an investment in your profitability, as well as in the future of our entire area.

We invite you to do well for yourself – and do good for the region – through your membership in the Alliance. Together, we can continue to build a more vibrant community and prosperous economy.

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