Lawmakers Must Build on Momentum

More good news came Wednesday on the West Virginia jobs front, as officials announced an agreement for GreenPower Motor Co. Inc. to produce electric school buses in an 80,000-square-foot South Charleston facility.

Though Gov. Jim Justice surely would have loved to be making the announcement in person, he instead was doing precisely the right thing and remaining isolated after a positive COVID-19 test. Instead, he released a statement:

“I’d like to be the first to welcome GreenPower to West Virginia with open arms. We’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to live and work in the paradise that our state offers,” he wrote. “West Virginia continues to be the best place to do business. I’m excited to help support GreenPower on this important project and for what the future holds for their great company and our great state.”

Reports indicate the operation could bring up to 200 jobs initially, and up to 900 jobs when it is running at full production in approximately two years. GreenPower says it believes the economic impact of the facility could reach approximately $500 million per year once it is in full swing.

Here we have not just an employer, but one providing what the company calls “clean energy jobs,” intending to bring hundreds of them to the middle of West Virginia.

Mountain State residents are used to industrial jobs. There is a touch of the familiar in this new employer who is proving it believes West Virginians are also perfectly suited to “green” industrial jobs. Such a step is important for the future of our economy on more than one level.

“West Virginia has shown us to be a pro-business state that has a workforce ready to take advantage of clean energy jobs,” Brendan Riley, president of GreenPower, said.

Lawmakers and economic development officials have momentum on their side, then. They must not fail to take advantage of it.


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