Advantage Valley is Attracting Talent

Innovative programs, career opportunities attract young professionals to Advantage Valley.

By
Kim Madlom
On Monday, October 12, 2020 - 11:36
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With strong and diverse business sectors in advanced manufacturing, automotive, technology, health care and chemicals, Advantage Valley is actively attracting young talent interested in career advancement and professional growth.

Major companies at home in Advantage Valley include Toyota, Alcon, Amazon, Gestamp, Champion Industries, APG Polytech, Dow, DuPont, DARCO International, CASCI, FedEx and Constellium.

Constellium alone, a global leader in developing aluminum products and solutions for the aerospace, automotive and packaging markets, is making waves throughout the region. While the company has multiple locations, its plant in Ravenswood, WV, is one of the world’s largest rolled products facilities, and it employs over 1,100 employees, making it the largest employer in Jackson County.

The region also boasts 600 health care establishments, employing more than 33,000 people.

“From specialized physicians who are leading the nation in their fields to hospital investments in the latest equipment and technology, patients can feel confident they are receiving health care that is second to none,” says Lisa Chamberlin Stump, chief strategy officer for Mountain Health Network.

Plus, a list of colleges and universities is available for residents looking to broaden their education. These include Marshall University, BridgeValley Community & Technical College, Mountwest Community & Technical College, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, the University of Charleston and West Virginia State University.

Together, these businesses, industries and institutions are providing a range of job opportunities. And with Advantage Valley’s lower cost structure, variety of housing options, solid infrastructure and outstanding outdoor recreation options, it is attractive to young professionals looking to advance in their careers.

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Ana Mesa / GWV

Recruiting Talent

An innovative talent recruitment program is drawing young professionals to Advantage Valley and into jobs in the region’s diverse business and industry sectors.

Generation West Virginia (GWV) is a statewide organization focused on attracting young professionals to the Mountain State. GWV’s Impact Fellowship is a powerful and successful tool in achieving that goal.

“GWV’s Impact Fellowship partners with some of the state’s most innovative companies to recruit tomorrow’s leaders to work, live and give in West Virginia by offering competitive, yearlong, salaried fellowships,” says Natalie Roper, GWV executive director. “The Impact Fellowship immerses young professionals who are motivated, passionate and eager to live in places where they can make an impact.”

The Impact Fellowship is greatly aiding Advantage Valley.

Since it was launched in 2017, it has successfully partnered with 19 in-state employers to place 30 Impact Fellows in jobs, leveraging $1.18 million in private investment from in-state employers who pay salaries (minimum of $31,000) and benefits for each Fellow they hire.

These fellowship positions are turning into permanent jobs, as 100% of the 2019 Impact Fellows received offers from their host employers following the conclusion of the program, Roper says.

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Kim Hunter

Building Leaders

Another important aspect of the program is its drive to build leaders, which is accomplished through quarterly retreats and networking opportunities that connect Fellows with leaders throughout the state.

“The Impact Fellowship has recruited 1,132 applicants over the past three years who want to live and work in West Virginia, which is a testament to the efficacy our model offers,” Roper says.

Cristin Dolan, an Impact Fellow working at TERRADON, an Advantage Valley engineering services company for transportation, land development, environmental and field services, says the program opened doors.

“The Impact Fellowship has given me the opportunity to reinvest in my home state,” Dolan says. “By connecting me with other change-makers in West Virginia, it has helped me grow professionally and contribute to positive change in my community.”

Ryan Wheeler, TERRADON’s director of business development, says the program also benefits the state’s business sector.

“As a West Virginia-headquartered company with operations and offices throughout the state, TERRADON has been excited to be part of the Impact Fellowship Program,” Wheeler says. “Drawing and retaining talented employees creates an opportunity to spur economic development and, ultimately, improves the quality of life for West Virginia’s residents and visitors.”

If you'd like to learn more about the Advantage Valley area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Advantage Valley, WV.