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, March 31, 2009

TechKnowledge to Offer Instruction in Microsoft Programs

The Charleston Area Alliance and West Virginia State Community and Technical College System of West Virginia are teaming up to offer TechKnowledge, a set of four classes designed to teach employees how to get the most out of Microsoft programs.

An advanced class focusing on Microsoft Word will begin the series and is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24. Intermediate classes covering Excel, Access and Powerpoint are scheduled for May 8, May 22 and June 5, respectively. All classes take place at the West Virginia State University Development Center, 1506 Kanawha Blvd. West.

The facility is about two blocks from the Patrick Street Bridge and right beside the David Saul used car lot. Parking is available.

Kim Sovine, program manager with West Virginia State, is the instructor.

TechKnowledge is part of "Skills for the 21st Century," a series of courses designed to help employees be more productive and more valuable. A course called WorkAbility began the "Skills" program last year, and the first round of TechKnowledge classes followed.

"Our goal is for area residents to gain the skills that will help them succeed in today's competitive environment," said Matt Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance. "These classes will give them a stronger grasp on the kinds of software that businesses depend on. We want citizens to have the skills to help their employers succeed."

Each "Skills" course includes four classes over a two-month period. Future course and class themes will include basic personal finance, meeting facilitation, networking and foreign languages.

"We want to offer portable skills they can take with them their entire careers," said Andrew Dunlap, the Alliance’s economic development project manager. "A challenging economy requires a more versatile workforce. TechKnowledge is an excellent opportunity for both employers and employees."

The course fee is $65 for current Alliance members and $80 for future members. The per-class fee is $20 for members and $30 for future members.

To register for just the April 24 Word course, contact Deb Coffman at (304) 340-4253. For other individual classes, visit

Monday, March 30, 2009

Generation Charleston Seeks Volunteers
to Help Make Kanawha River Shine

It’s one of Charleston’s largest natural resource and a vital piece of what makes the city so special, but these days its banks appear to have been a little neglected. That’s where you come in – the Kanawha River needs your help!

Generation Charleston, in conjunction with the West Virginia Make it Shine program, is sponsoring a Kanawha River Clean Up from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 4.

Duties include removing debris, sidewalk edging and mulching the riverbank from the 35th Street Bridge to Haddad Park. Breakfast, lunch and work gloves will be provided.

Volunteers are to check in on the State House steps next to Kanawha Boulevard.

The schedule is as follows: 7:45 - 8:30 a.m., check-in/breakfast; 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., River Clean Up; 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., lunch/wrap-up.

You need not be a Generation Charleston member to participate, and community groups are welcome to join in the event.

Members of all local media outlets also are encouraged to come out and be a big part of the day, helping us spread the word and highlight our other greatest resource here in Charleston – the people!

Volunteers are asked to sign up in advance by e-mailing Brooke Pauley at by March 31.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Job Posting:
West Virginia Development Office

This part-time position would require 24 to 32 hours a week.

Duties: Facilitate the growth and development of minority and women business enterprises throughout the state.
Advise new and existing business owners on the components of owning and operating a small business in West Virginia.
Compile and maintain the West Virginia Minority, Women and Veterans Business (MWV) Directory/Database.
Implement the Small Business Development Center MWV Certification system.
Plan and executive successful networking opportunities in the minority community.
Maintain effective working relationships with government officials, community leaders, non-profit organizations and private organizations.
Identify newly emerging business opportunities for minorities and women.
Provide liaison to minority and women business groups as appropriate.
Integration of all business assistance programs in the WVDO to the minority community. For example, the Linked Deposit Program and Governor's Guaranteed Workforce Training.
Assist with the implementation of the overall goals of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center.

Training: Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a major in accounting, business administration, economics, finance, management, banking, labor or industrial relations or human resource management
Experience: One year of full-time or equivalent part-time paid experience in business administration, industrial or labor relations, banking; or one year in the ownership/operation of a business enterprise; or one year as a business development specialist may substitute for the required training on a year-for-year basis
Substitution: Full-time or equivalent part-time paid experience in business administration, industrial or labor relations, banking or in the ownership/operation of a business enterprise may substitute for the required training on a year-for-year basis

Closing Date: April 10, 2009

To Apply: Send resume to
Diana Spence
West Virginia Development Office
Human Resources
Building 6, Room 645
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305-0311

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sustainable Kanawha Valley Initiative to Host
Town Meeting March 31

The Sustainable Kanawha Valley Initiative (SKVI), a community grant program, will hold a town meeting March 31 at the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center in Charleston to advise interested parties on the highly collaborative grant process and to generate project ideas. The Initiative supports projects which simultaneously achieve economic, environmental, and social goals. The geographic service area served by the Initiative is Kanawha and Putnam Counties.

The Sustainable Kanawha Valley Initiative was created in 2005 by thirteen local funders. Since the initiative began in 2005, 41 projects throughout the Kanawha Valley have received over $379,000 in grant funding. Some previously funded SKVI projects include bike racks placed on KRT buses, Music Mentors – one on one group music lessons for children on Charleston’s East End and West Side and the upcoming Kanawha Valley Sustainability Fair to be held on May 30 at the Habit for Humanity ReStore in Charleston.

This year approximately $120,000 in total project funding is available for the 2009 grant cycle. The maximum grant size per project is $10,000.

Community members are encouraged to attend this open meeting which will kick-off the Sustainable Kanawha Valley Initiative 2009 grant cycle. The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center located at 1701 4th Avenue on the West Side of Charleston. For more information please contact Bev Davis at the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (304) 346-3620.

Obama Administration Announces Plans to Unlock
Credit for Small Businesses

As part of an effort Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner first outlined in introducing the Financial Stability Plan (FSP) in February, President Obama and Secretary Geithner will announce plans to take immediate action to help ensure that credit gets flowing again to entrepreneurs and business owners.

As another part of the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative, by the end of the month the Treasury Department will begin making direct purchases of securities backed by SBA loans to get the credit market moving again, and it will stand ready to purchase new securities to ensure that community banks and credit unions feel confident in extending new loans to local businesses.

These purchases, combined with higher loan guarantees and reduced fees, will help provide lenders with the confidence that they need to extend credit, knowing they both have a backstop against their risk and a source of liquidity. These measures will complement other steps the administration is taking to help small businesses recover and grow, including several tax cuts under the Recovery Act.

The Obama Administration firmly believes that economic recovery will be driven in large part by America’s small businesses, which have generated about 70 percent of net new jobs annually over the past decade. But as the flow of credit has dried up during this recession, small business owners who were prudent and responsible have been set back by the behavior of others in our financial system who were not.

Businesses with strong credit histories have seen loan applications denied due to conditions that have nothing to do with their own actions and are now struggling to expand their businesses, make their payments or even keep workers on their payrolls. As a result, while the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) typically guarantees about $20 billion in loans annually, new lending is trending below $10 billion this year.

The Obama Administration has already taken several positive steps to ensure that small businesses have access to the credit they need to support an economic recovery. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by the President provides for increased guarantees and reduced fees for certain Small Business Administration loans. In February, the Treasury Department made a special effort under the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative to improve terms for securities backed by SBA loans in the TALF.

1. Jumpstart Credit Markets For Small Businesses By Purchasing Up to $15 Billion in Securities Begin Direct Purchases of Securities Backed by Loans from SBA’s 7(a) Program: Traditionally, SBA lending has been supported by an active secondary market, as community banks and other lenders sell the government-guaranteed portion of their loans, providing them with new capital to make additional loans. But since last fall, this secondary market – which has historically supported over 40 percent of SBA’s 7(a) lending program – has frozen up. As a result, both lenders, including community banks and credit unions, and the "pool assemblers" that securitize their loans have been left with government-guaranteed SBA loans and securities on their books. This has prevented them from making or buying new loans. Today, the Treasury Department announces that – in order to get credit moving immediately to small businesses – it will:

Stand Ready to Purchase Securities Backed by 7(a) Loans Packaged Since Last July: Treasury has hired an investment manager who will be authorized to purchase – starting by the end of this month – securities backed by guaranteed portions of 7(a) loans packaged on or after July 1, 2008. This will help clear the backlog of securities that has built up since the beginning of the credit crisis last year, providing pool assemblers and banks with a source of liquidity so that new lending can occur.

Stand Ready to Purchase New 7(a) Securities Packaged Between Now and the End of the Year: Between now and the expiration of Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) authority on December 31, 2009, Treasury stands ready to purchase new securities backed by the guaranteed portions of 7(a) loans. By making this pledge, Treasury provides assurances to community banks and other lenders that they can sell the new 7(a) loans they make, providing them with cash they can use to extend even more credit.

Make Direct Purchases to Unlock Credit Markets for SBA’s 504 Community Development Loan Program: The SBA’s 504 program combines government-backed loans with mortgage loans from private lenders to provide long-term financing of up to $10 million that directly supports economic development within a community. First-lien mortgage loans made by private-sector lenders – which account for 50 percent of the financing for 504 projects, and are not SBA guaranteed – were often traded in the past on an active secondary market that has frozen in the last year, leaving billions in unsold assets on the books of banks. To get the 504 lending market moving again, Treasury will:

Stand Ready to Purchase Securities Packaged From 504 First-Lien Mortgages: Treasury will stand ready to buy first-lien mortgage securities connected to SBA’s 504 loan program. No later than May, Treasury will begin purchasing securities packaged on or after July 1, 2008 that meet eligibility criteria designed to protect taxpayers.

Prepare to Buy 504 First-Lien Mortgage Securities That Receive New SBA Guarantees: As part of the Recovery Act, SBA is working to develop a secondary market guarantee program for securities issued from pooled 504 first mortgage loans. Once this program is fully implemented by SBA, Treasury will stand ready to purchase these government-guaranteed securities.

Provide Liquidity While Keeping The Secondary Market in Place: These direct purchases of 7(a) and 504 securities will provide liquidity to lenders, including community banks and credit unions, enabling them to restart the process of recycling capital and extending loans. At the same time, the TALF component of the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative will provide investors with an attractive source of financing, allowing them to continue participating in the market. This is intended to keep the existing secondary market in place so that private investors can replace the government as the purchaser of these securities when market conditions return to normal.

2. Temporarily Raise Guarantees to Up to 90 Percent in SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program: The purpose of the 7(a) loan program is to provide a government guarantee that reduces the risk lenders face when they make loans to borrowers who cannot find credit elsewhere. But during the current recession, the guarantees – up to 85 percent for loans at or below $150,000 and up to 75 percent for larger loans – have not been large enough to give banks the confidence they need to lend. As part of its implementation of the Recovery Act, the SBA today announces:

An Increase in Maximum Loan Guarantees to 90 Percent: Beginning today, any lender who participates in the 7(a) program can request a guarantee from the SBA of up to 90 percent for each eligible loan. This temporarily available increase in guarantees will help provide banks with the greater confidence they need to extend credit during the current recession.

A Confidence Boost Lenders Need to Extend Credit: Combined with Treasury’s efforts to unlock secondary markets, higher loan guarantees will ensure that lenders have both greater safeguards against possible credit losses and assurances that there will be an active secondary market to purchase their loans and provide the liquidity they need to keep lending.

3. Temporarily Eliminate SBA Loan Fees to Reduce the Cost of Capital Elimination of Borrower and Lender Fees for 504 Loans: On any new eligible 504 applications submitted beginning today, SBA will temporarily eliminate the Certified Development Company (CDC) processing fees charged to borrowers and the third-party participation fees charged to lenders. As a temporary provision authorized by the Recovery Act, these measures will reduce costs to both borrowers and lenders participating in the 504 program, which has a demonstrated record of supporting community development and creating jobs.

Elimination of Up-Front Fees for 7(a) Loans: For any new eligible 7(a) loan, the SBA will temporarily eliminate the up-front fees that lenders pass along to borrowers. These fees – which go up to 3.75 percent for larger loans – increase the cost of borrowing for small businesses and make it more difficult for them to access the credit they need to expand or make new investments.

Rebates for Fees Paid Since February 17th: For borrowers or lenders charged any of these fees on loans approved on or after February 17th, the SBA will provide a refund, to ensure that Recovery Act provisions create the maximum possible economic stimulus.

A Pledge to Quickly Turn Around Loans: To maintain a high level of service to potential borrowers and lenders alike, the SBA also pledges that complete loan applications will be turned around quickly by the SBA – usually in as little as two to three days.

4. Call by Secretary Geithner for New Reporting Requirements on Bank Lending to Small Businesses and Greater Efforts to Extend Small Business Loans

Require the 21 Largest Banks Receiving Financial Stability Plan Assistance to Report Their Small Business Lending Every Month: As part of the President’s commitment to increasing transparency and accountability, Treasury will – for the first time – require the 21 largest banks receiving capital from the government to report how much small business lending they do every month.

Call for Quarterly Reports of Small Business Lending By All Banks: Secretary Geithner called for every bank nationwide to report their total lending to small businesses in their regular quarterly reports, rather than just once a year. Secretary Geithner will ask bank regulators to take steps to amend the quarterly Report of Condition to achieve this important objective. This will offer more current information about trends in small business lending, while at the same time providing important information about how well government programs are working to stimulate these loans.

Issue Call for All Banks to Make Efforts to Increase Small Business Lending: Secretary Geithner called on all banks – whether or not they receive FSP assistance – to make an extra effort to extend small business loans to creditworthy borrowers. In light of the extraordinary assistance provided to the banking system, Secretary Geithner emphasized that lenders should take a special responsibility for providing the credit that small businesses need to operate, expand and add jobs.

5. Issue Guidance for An Expanded Carryback Provision as Part of the Recovery Act’s Comprehensive Tax Cut Package for Small Businesses:

Establish Five-Year Carryback Provision to Increase Tax Refunds for Small Businesses: The IRS will issue guidance for a provision in the Recovery Act that allows businesses with gross receipts of up to $15 million to "carry back" their losses for up to five years, effectively allowing them a rebate on taxes paid in previous years. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this measure will increase liquidity for small businesses by $4.7 billion by September 30, 2009.
Continue Implementation of Recovery Act’s Comprehensive Tax Cut Package for Small Businesses: The carryback provision is only one of several measures in the Recovery Act that will improve liquidity for small businesses by lowering their taxes, including:

Incentives to Invest in Plant and Equipment by Allowing Small Businesses to Write Off Up to $250,000 of Investment: The Recovery Act allows small businesses to immediately write off up to $250,000 of qualified investment in 2009, providing an immediate tax incentive to invest and create jobs.

Additional Liquidity Support By Reducing Estimated Tax Payments: Normally, small businesses have to pay 110 percent of their previous year’s taxes in estimated taxes. But with incomes down for many small businesses this requirement is too burdensome – and causing a cash crunch. The Recovery Act allows small businesses to reduce their estimated payments to 90 percent of the previous year’s taxes, helping to boost their liquidity and better align their estimated taxes with their actual taxes in a year of severe economic contraction.

Extension of Bonus Depreciation Deductions Through 2009: The Recovery Act also extends through 2009 bonus depreciation, allowing businesses to take a larger tax deduction within the first year of a property’s purchase.

Incentives for Investors to Put Money in Small Businesses: Finally, the Recovery Act includes a measure that will exclude from taxation 75 percent of the capital gains for investors in small businesses who hold their investments for five years. In his budget, the President proposes to go further, eliminating all capital gains taxes on small businesses and making this measure permanent.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Charleston Business Showcase Comes to the Marriot March 26

Demonstrating their belief in the future and commitment to our community, more than 35 regional businesses will highlight their products and services at the March 26 Charleston Business Showcase, presented by the Charleston Area Alliance and Title Sponsor Charleston Marriott. Exhibitor space sold out more than a month prior to the event.

The Showcase, held in conjunction with the Alliance’s monthly Business After Hours, is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. at the Marriott.

“It will be an upbeat setting for making personal connections with customers and clients and interacting with other businesses representing a broad spectrum of our community,” said JoEllen Zacks, Alliance senior vice president. “And during challenging economic times, the Showcase shines a positive spotlight on many of region’s businesses. It's a great way to network with colleagues and learn what peer organizations are doing to stay competitive in today's economy. ”

Exhibiting business and organizations include AT&T Mobility; Advantage Technology; Brickstreet Insurance; Charleston CVB; Charleston Gardens; City National Bank; College Summit; Comfort Inn-West; East End Main Street; Edgewood Summit; Emmanuel Baptist Conference Center; Employers' Innovative Network; Express Employment Professionals; Fairfield Inn/Charleston Plaza Hotel; Family Counseling Connection; FedEx Ground; Fifth Third Bank; Generation Charleston; International Association of Administrative Professionals; Junior Achievement of West Virginia; KISRA; Keep In Touch Professional Greetings; Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa; MedExpress Urgent Care; MotionMasters; Rainmaker Media Group; Ramsey Insurance Agency; Security America; Snowshoe Mountain; State Farm Insurance; SunTrust Bank; TEKsystems; United Talent Staffing; Verizon Wireless; WVU College of Business & Economics; West Virginia Power; and Wheeling Jesuit University.

Admission to Business After Hours is $10 for Alliance members and $20 for future members. Click here to register!

Prices increase to $15 and $25 at the door. To expedite your registration, guests may pay online or contact for more information.

Unfortunately, the Alliance will only be able to invoice for groups of 10 or more. The Alliance cannot issues cancellation refunds within 48 hours before the event.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Take Out Your Stress This Evening with Generation Charleston

Generation Charleston's March Meeting is this evening from 5:30 to 7: 30 p.m. in the Clay Center's Walker Theater.

Join Generation Charleston and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra as we welcome featured speaker Dan Kamin to Charleston! Dan has created physical comedy sequences for the films "Chaplin" and "Benny and Joon" and trained Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp for their acclaimed performances.

For this event, Dan will be conducting a workshop on Stress Management - and sharing what he's learned working on film sets and with orchestras across the world.

Anyone who attends this meeting will receive two free tickets to see Dan Kamin perform with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in "Charlie Chaplin at the Symphony" March 27. Plus, you will receive a special invite to the VIP reception in the Founder's Lounge before the show!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Warehouse Warm Up to Welcome Back Power

Mark your calendars for April 11, when East End Main Street hosts the first-ever "Warehouse Warm-Up" Smith Street Business Promotion. It’s our way of welcoming back the West Virginia Power baseball team for the 2009 season!

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Power will open up their back gates and give exclusive access to the "Kidz Zone" for all children and their parents who will want to browse the Warehouse District stores and check out the great deals going on that day.

We also will have a drawing hosted by the Power to give away a free 4-pack of tickets to the first weekend game starting at 6:05 p.m. April 11.

Make sure your kid sticks around to get autographs from their favorite Power players and have their pictures taken with the Power mascots.

Maps of participating Warehouse District businesses, complete with their Warehouse Warm-Up special offer, will be available at the East End Main Street table located directly across the street from the back gates of Appalachian Power Park on Smith Street.

The only way you’ll be able to experience the great deals offered from the Warehouse District businesses and possibly get free Power tickets and autographs is to come down to the 1st annual East End Warehouse Warm-Up.

More details, including some other fun events lined up for the kids and the official map of the event, will be available in all East End businesses, on our website at and on the East End Main Street Facebook page.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nominations Now Open for
2009 "Expect the Best From West Virginia" Awards

Put your organization in the Winner's Circle! Nominations are now open for the 2009 "Expect the Best from West Virginia" award. The awards, which honor organizations that promote quality of life and excellence in the workplace and community, will be presented at the Clay Center on June 3 during the Alliance's Annual Celebration. Awards will be given in three categories: Large business, small business and non-profit, government or non-traditional organization.

"Expect the Best" showcases efforts that advance the Alliance's mission to build a more vibrant community and prosperous economy and inspire pride and growth in our region and state. Awards criteria have been updated and expanded, and will include an assessment of an applicant's efforts to attract and retain young professionals, promote inclusion and incorporate sustainability principles.

Deadline for applications is Thursday, April 23.

Unisys Career Fair Boosts Local Expansion Efforts

Organizers of a recent career fair for the world-wide information technology firm Unysis are calling the event a major success. The event, held at the Charleston Civic Center, attracted dozens of qualified candidates to possibly fill 15 immediate openings in Charleston.

Company officials conducted interviews with qualified candidates on the spot.

The Charleston Area Alliance and the West Virginia Department of Commerce helped Unisys organize the March 5 event. Jennifer Bowman, senior manager for Unisys, said the turnout demonstrates the region’s skilled workforce and the ability of organizations such as the Alliance to mobilize those who want to succeed in the Kanawha Valley.

“Our West Virginia career fair was very successful for us,” Bowman said. “We now have a significant pool of extremely qualified West Virginia candidates to fill our current positions, and we can look to these applicants when future hiring opportunities arise.”

Unisys Corporation plans to expand the number of employees in its Charleston office to support Medicaid claims processing in West Virginia and surrounding states. The Fortune 500 company will be adding to its current staff of 85.

“Unisys is investing in the region because it believes in West Virginia, and that confidence was confirmed after the Career Fair,” said Alliance President and CEO Matt Ballard. “We were proud of the results and are excited an important employer in Charleston will be expanding during a time of economic challenge. Unisys is helping to build a more vibrant community and prosperous economy.”

Anticipating a need for future employees, Unisys is working with the Community and Technical College System (CTCS) of West Virginia on a new educational initiative. The company and colleges are partnering to develop curriculum to certify participants in Medicaid proficiency.

The new educational program may be ready for students to enroll as early as the fall 2009 semesters.

“Through this educational initiative, Unisys helps prospective employees secure the training they will need to work with us,” said Teresa DiMarco, president of Unisys Health Information Management. “The students will find that certification will open doors to many career opportunities with Unisys, hospitals, insurance companies, Medicaid agencies and more.”

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Enjoy the NCAA Tournament at Vandalia Grille tonight and help out Sara Bott, a WVU alum who suffered a brain aneurysm Feb. 19. The event runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

If you're downtown for ArtWalk, be sure to stop by Vandalia on Hale Street.

Drinks are complimentary. Donations at the door are requested.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Downtown ArtWalk
Returns Thursday

Downtown ArtWalk returns Thursday, March 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. and will continue monthly through December.

Experience the best of what downtown has to offer as galleries open their doors after hours, inviting guests to enjoy art, refreshments and a fantastic atmosphere!

For more information, call (304) 340-4253.

Click here to download an ArtWalk map.

SBA to Conduct Series of Government Contracting Events
“Spring Fever” Events Poised to Help Small Businesses Expand

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Office announced a series of training events crafted to help West Virginia small businesses prepare to do business with the federal government. The events will focus on three topics, Doing Business with the Federal Government, Marketing to the Federal Government, and The 8(a) Certification Application Process.

The U.S. government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, spending nearly $520 billion in 2008. Contracting can be an excellent option for businesses searching for expansion opportunities and for ways to keep their companies viable during the current economic downtown. The SBA oversees various certification programs which can provide minorities, women, veterans and other social and economic disadvantaged individuals with the tools necessary to engage in federal contracting.

“We want to assist West Virginia’s small business community more than ever, especially with the current economic situation,” said Judy McCauley, director of SBA’s West Virginia District Office. “We provided training to over 400 businesses during our government contracting training last fall. That tells us the West Virginia small businesses are hungry; they want to succeed, and we want to give them all the tools and help they need.”

The Doing Business with the Federal Government events are scheduled for March 24, April 21 and May 19 in Clarksburg; March 25 in Morgantown; March 31 in Huntington; and May 14 in Charleston. The Marketing to the Federal Government is scheduled for March 18 in Lewisburg and the 8(a) Certification Application Process training will be held the afternoon of March 24 and May 19 in Clarksburg.

The events are free of charge and open to the public, however seating is limited and pre-registration is requested. To register, contact Naomi Bassel at (304) 623-7447 or via email at

Individuals looking for more information on contracting, or wanting to know if contracting is right for their business, can visit SBA’s free online training web site at To access the courses, click on “Free Online Courses” on the right side of the screen.

“We teach small businesses what they need to know and do to succeed in the federal marketplace,” said Melissa Loder, business development specialist with SBA. “It can be a wonderful journey on the road to success.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Generation Charleston Needs River Clean Up Volunteers

Generation Charleston's 2nd Quarter Service Project, in conjunction with the West Virginia Make it Shine program, is a Kanawha River Clean Up, scheduled for Saturday, April from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Duties include removing debris, sidewalk edging, and mulching the riverbank from the 35th Street Bridge to Haddad Park. Breakfast, lunch and work gloves will be provided. Volunteers are to check in on the State House steps next to Kanawha Boulevard.

7:45 am – 8:30 am: Check-in/Breakfast
8:30 am – 12:30 pm: River Clean Up
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Lunch/Wrap-up

You need not be a Generation Charleston member to participate. Groups are welcome.

Volunteers are asked to sign up in advance by e-mailing Brooke Pauley at by March 31st.

Note: Rain date is Saturday, April 11, 2009

Couch Potatoes Prepare for 5K

Always wanted to run a 5K? Well then, get off the couch and get ready to race!

A free 10-week training program coached by certified personal trainers and experienced runners will prepare walkers and runners for the May 30 Rainbow Run. It begins March 23, and the training runs take place three times weekly – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. – at the University of Charleston.

Get fit, make friends and support the Covenant House.

Contact Jeff Crist at or (304) 344-8053, ext. 18, to pre-register or get more information.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Job Posting:
Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love

Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love is looking for a creative/web design specialist.

This individual will be a valued member of the client development team who will be involved in all aspects of the firm’s marketing functions, including design, development and content management of the firm’s Internet and intranet websites; design and execution of e-publications; design of print advertisements, direct mail and other collateral materials, including specialty items; and design and support for firm presentations and publications.

A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of two years’ experience in a related field is preferred. The application should be proficient in Content Management Systems (CMS), Flash, CSS, xhtml, html and ASP as well as design software including Adobe Creative Suite 4 (in Mac and/or PC platforms), as well as Microsoft Office, including PowerPoint.

This position requires a team player who can multi-task in a busy, high-energy environment, supporting 125 attorneys and seven regional offices. Minimal travel required. Excellent benefits package includes 401(k), profit sharing and an excellent, professional work environment where your contributions are valued and appreciated.

Applicants should send resume with cover letter and salary history to: Mark Nelson, Human Resources Director, Bowles Rice, P.O. Box 1386, Charleston, WV 25325 or fax to (304)343-3058.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Alliance & Generation Charleston Work to
Make Greenspace a Reality

The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority (CURA) this week announced it would invest an additional $253,000 for the Gateway Greenspace project. The $2 million project would be located on a one-acre tract at the corner of Washington Street East and Leon Sullivan Way near the Clay Center.

The latest contribution brings the Charleston Area Alliance within $50,000 of the funds needed to actually begin construction. The CURA money will cover the streetscape portion of Gateway Greenspace.

“We are excited to be so close to seeing Gateway Greenspace come to life,” said Susie Salisbury, the Alliance’s vice president of community development. “This will be one of the most beautiful aspects of Charleston and will continue to make Charleston a desirable place to work and play, and it’s another way we’re building a more vibrant community and prosperous economy.”

Meanwhile, Generation Charleston, the Alliance’s emerging leaders group, announced Gateway Greenspace would be its year-long service project for 2009. The group’s executive management team this week voted to focus efforts on Gateway Greenspace, meaning the group’s members will work to raise money for the project and possibly volunteer for some of the physical labor.

“Gateway Greenspace fits perfectly with what Generation Charleston is all about,” said Kate McCoy, Generation Charleston co-chair. “We’re working to make Charleston more attractive for the young talent who live here and those who might choose to live here. This project is a big step in that direction.”

Wheeling Jesuit University’s Charleston Center Offers
Online Teacher Certification Program

ACT, Wheeling Jesuit University’s Accelerated Certification for Teaching program, is an online certificate program that is designed for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree and seek to qualify for state teacher certification. ACT provides an alternative pathway to teaching for individuals who have not completed a teacher preparation course but who have considerable life experiences, career achievements, and academic backgrounds that are relevant for teaching in grades 5 through 12.

The ACT program offers an accelerated path to teacher certification for those interested in teaching as a second career or those who already serve in the classroom as temporary, emergency, or substitute teachers who need to earn a formal teaching credential.

This online program offers students the flexibility to remain in their present career or classroom while they prepare to fully enter the teaching profession, although, full time participation is required during the final semester to complete the student teaching requirement.

The ACT program can be completed in as little as 18 months!

ACT allows students to complete only the requirements they need…not an entire bachelor’s degree.

Credit is given for all required classes that have been taken at other institutions of higher learning at either the bachelors or masters levels.

If you are interested in learning more about Wheeling Jesuit University’s ACT program, please join us for:
The ACT Forum
Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wheeling Jesuit University’s Charleston Center
1028 Quarrier Street
Charleston, WV 25301

The Director of the ACT program and an admissions counselor will be available to answer questions, review your college/university transcripts, or provide you with an academic action plan.

For more information contact (304) 720-7292 or

If you are looking to enhance your career or want to start down a new career path, don’t wait…ACT now!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Don't Miss Out on Refunds the IRS Owes You

When completing a 2008 personal income tax return, look in your personal tax files for your 2005 federal income tax return. According to the Internal Revenue Service, 4,900 West Virginians, who did not file a return in 2005, are owed a total of nearly $4.4 million.

Many of these West Virginians did not file a federal income tax return because they had too little income to be required to file a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments. The IRS estimates the average refund for these affected West Virginia taxpayers is $627. When you file a federal return, you also need to file a state return. Therefore if you file a past year or current year return with the IRS, complete and file your state return for the same time period.

The IRS and the West Virginia State Tax Department remind West Virginians to collect their unclaimed 2005 federal tax refund by April 15, 2009. After that date, the statute of limitations expires, and the unclaimed money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.

Taxpayers seeking a 2005 refund will have their checks held if they have not filed tax returns for 2006 or 2007 with the federal government. In addition, the refunds will be applied to any amounts owed to the IRS, the West Virginia State Tax Department, child support or other past due federal debts such as student loans.

Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available at or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). State tax forms are available at or at your local Taxpayer Services location.

Nationwide, the IRS estimates over a million people are eligible to claim their piece of $1.3 billion in uncollected refunds. For more information, see IRS Release IR-2009-16, March 3, 2009 at:,,id=204931,00.html

To learn more about other personal income tax filing tips from the West Virginia State Tax Department, visit

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Join Junior League for Building Community Over Cocktails

The Junior League of Charleston is excited to invite you to its 6th annual Building Community Over Cocktails fundraiser March 24th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the atrium and ballroom at 405 Capitol Street.

The event will consist of vendors selling an array of fabulous finds, as well as a great silent auction and raffle. Some items will include gift certificates to local restaurants, golf courses and more!

This year's raffle prize is Holiday Getaway at the Greenbrier! The winner of the raffle will win a 2-night, weekday stay good from November 2009 to March 2010.

This year's event will feature an agency expo to showcase the many organizations Junior League has touched over the years.

Event tickets are $25, which includes beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres. Raffle tickets are $10. Both can be purchased by con tacting the Junior League of Charleston office at (304) 346-5856 or Tickets also are available at the event.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

Job Posting:
Maintenance Supervisor

Maintenance Supervisor needed for luxury apartments in Teays Valley. Minimum 3-5 years experience.

Qualifications include: plumbing, carpentry, electricity and grounds. HVAC required. Needs to be available for an on-call schedule. Full benefits package including 401 K.

Email resume to or fax (434) 296-5460.

Visit for more information.

Join Us at Fiesta Verde!

Generation Charleston - along with the West Virginia Power, Manahan Group and the City of Charleston - presents Fiesta Verde from 5 to 8 p.m. March 13 at Power Alley Grill.

Proceeds benefit the MS Society.

The event is the kick-off to the Green Chili Shoot Out the following day at Capitol Market. Visit for more information about the Shoot Out.

Fiesta Verde tickets are $13 at the door.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Unisys Career Fair is Today

Unisys Corporation plans to expand the number of employees in its Charleston office to support Medicaid claims processing in West Virginia and surrounding states. The Fortune 500 company has 15 immediate openings to add to its current staff of 85.

To fill its immediate technology and analyst openings, Unisys is hosting a Career Fair at the Charleston Civic Center on March 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Company officials will be present to conduct interviews with qualified candidates on the spot.

This is a great opportunity for those looking for work in the information technology, medical and insurance fields.

Anticipating a need for future employees, Unisys is working with the Community and Technical College System (CTCS) of West Virginia on a new educational initiative. The company and colleges are partnering to develop curriculum to certify participants in Medicaid proficiency.

“Unisys is expanding and investing in West Virginia because they have confidence in our work force and our economy,” said Gov. Joe Manchin. “The educational initiative is evidence of what can be accomplished through public-private partnerships. The program is an investment not only in Unisys' future in West Virginia, but in the futures of our citizens.”

The new educational program may be ready for students to enroll as early as the fall 2009 semesters.

“Through this educational initiative, Unisys helps prospective employees secure the training they will need to work with us,” said Teresa DiMarco, president, Unisys Health Information Management. “The students will find that certification will open doors to many career opportunities with Unisys, hospitals, insurance companies, Medicaid agencies and more.”

The Charleston Area Alliance and the CTCS will be joining Unisys March 5.

Unisys is a worldwide information technology services and solutions company. For more information on Unisys jobs openings, visit

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Charleston Area Alliance Responds to
Recent Cutbacks

Like all West Virginians, we are saddened to learn of the announcement by NiSource and Chesapeake Energy to cut back operations in the Mountain State. These companies have been an integral part of our state for years. Through their growth in the energy sector, they have played a leading role in building our state's economy and provided families throughout West Virginia with good jobs and economic opportunity. The current economic crisis has forced businesses throughout the world to make difficult choices, and we know these decisions were not easy.

The Charleston Area Alliance encourages both Chesapeake Energy and Nisource to keep Charleston on the top of the list for job additions when economic times improve. As the region's economic development authority, we stand ready to assist any business through these challenging times.

While we cannot hide from the disappointing news of the global crisis as it hits home in West Virginia, we have reason to hope. Although good news is often overshadowed by the bad, we want to shine a spotlight on companies that are growing and hiring.

Since January, we've seen – through the hard work of Senator Rockefeller, the state, the Kanawha County Commission and the City of Charleston – the addition of a direct flight from Charleston to New York. Unisys has announced 20 good-paying job openings for those in the information technology and health care fields, and the Alliance is assisting Unisys with its career fair, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 5 at the Charleston Civic Center.

Bayer Crop Science announced last month it would be hiring 20 new employees. CASCI added 22 jobs in the 4th quarter of 2008 and plans to add more new positions in 2009. Ticketmaster added jobs at their Northgate location, and TRG has announced an expansion.

We see similar announcements on the horizon, and the Alliance will continue to work for a more vibrant community and prosperous economy, stepping up efforts to make the region more attractive to prospective employers, organizing events that highlight the positive and doing whatever we can to help companies trying to thrive in a down market.

We would encourage local citizens to remember Web-based resources, such as the Alliance’s blog, where the Alliance often posts job openings for member businesses. In addition, the Alliance Facebook and Linkedin groups often feature job postings.

Those who are seeking jobs also are encouraged to send their resumes electronically to the Charleston Area Alliance for placement in a resume bank used by local employers to

Celebrate Charleston's New Connection
to New York City

Join Yeager Airport and American Airlines for a reception at the Clay Center Wednesday, March 11, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Yeager Airport welcomes daily non-stop service to La Guardia on American Airlines/American Eagle.

Please RSVP to