RCDA’s first job fair ‘just fantastic,’ director reports

Employers who participated in the first-ever Randolph County Job Fair hope it becomes an annual event, Randolph County Development Authority Executive Director Robbie Morris told RCDA board members Wednesday.

“The number one request was that we have it again next year,” Morris said at the RCDA’s monthly meeting Wednesday at the West Virginia Wood Technology Center. “Some of the seasonal employers such as Snowshoe, Canaan Valley Resort and the Homestead (in Virginia) would like us to have it in the fall as well.”

Morris said approximately 250 applicants and 60 employers and support service providers took part in the fair, which took place April 26 on the campus of Davis & Elkins College. Although the RCDA spearheaded sponsoring the fair, The Inter-Mountain, the Elkins-Randolph Chamber of Commerce and D&E were also sponsors.

“It was just fantastic,” Morris said, crediting his administrative assistant, Kris Wilmoth, for her hard work that made the fair happen.

In other business, Morris announced that he’s been exploring options for “closing out” a $125,000 West Virginia Division of Highways grant intended to restore a turntable in the railyard. The RCDA had been serving as a pass-through agency for the West Virginia Railroad Museum – the organization in charge of the project.

The restoration stalled since the grant was awarded in March 2009 because of a lack of funds, and at its April board meeting, the RCDA board voted to authorize Morris to “close out” the grant.

“We have come up with three or four ideas for using the turntables as parts of bridges or in local infrastructure,” Morris said. “There are several qualifying uses that could get us out of the liability under that grant.”

Morris reported that for the 19th consecutive year the RCDA has been awarded a Local Economic Development grant, this year for $31,008.

The board also unanimously voted in favor of authorizing the RCDA to open a grants-only checking account, which would enable the agency to segregate grant funds from other monies.

Delegate Bill Hartman, D-Randolph, a board member, reported on the most recent legislative session, saying that the education bill was the “centerpiece” of the Legislature’s accomplishments, and he believes it will enable counties to develop the types of calendars that best meet the needs of their area.

Hartman also briefly discussed Corridor H, stressing that although federal funding is needed to complete the highway, the RCDA also needs to be thinking about how it will market Randolph County once the road is ready.

“How are we going to get people to stop in Randolph County and not just keep driving?” Hartman said. “How are we going to attract them here? That’s something we need to be thinking about sooner rather than later.”

Contact Katie Kuba by email at kkuba@theintermountain.com.