As West Virginia becomes more “wired” to the Internet and community development initiatives expand, the potential for economic growth will increase as well.
The state is primed to benefit from the rise of technology-based jobs, which can be conducted remotely from any place in the world, so long as a broadband connection exists.
Consider Boise, Idaho, recently featured by The Economist for its success recruiting high-tech companies and workers.
Similar to Idaho, the Mountain State has various assets that can enhance quality of life for companies and employees seeking relief from the rat-race of big cities.
The West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Commission on Economic Development is studying a proposal that would establish a Creative Communities Development Act, allowing cities and counties to receive state funding in the form of matching grants, for the following purposes:
- To provide greater technological access among citizens, businesses, nonprofit entities, and governmental entities.
- To develop community centers, along with arts, cultural and recreational facilities.
- To make aesthetic improvements to existing infrastructure.
- To develop programs that foster community inclusiveness, bridging ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural divides.
The above measure passed the state Senate during the 2010 regular legislative session, but failed to gain traction in the House.
However, the Joint Commission on Economic Development’s further exploration of the matter is encouraging, as many legislators and community groups remain committed to moving forward with such a program.