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(Left to right) Jerome Gilbert, Gordon Gee, Erika Klose,Sarah Tucker, Roger Hanshaw, Mitch Carmichael, Kartik Athreya, and Mark Kamlet  

WV Forward looking to jobs and skills of the future | The State Journal

Educators, business and community leaders, as well as elected officials, recently got a chance to delve into machine learning and what some jobs of the future might hold during a special conference in Charleston. The city hosted Focus Forward: Preparing Today for the West Virginia of Tomorrow, which comes as part of the West Virginia Forward initiative, a collaboration between the state Department of Commerce, Marshall University and West Virginia University. Focus Forward allowed attendees to share thoughts on the impact machine learning and artificial intelligence will have on the Mountain State’s people, education and policies.

Columnist Brooks McCabe, The State Journal  

Opportunities abound for the I-79 Technology Park | The State Journal

An op-ed by Brooks McCabe: West Virginia’s economy is on the rebound, and nowhere are the opportunities greater than in North Central West Virginia, especially at Fairmont’s I-79 Technology Park. The past 10 years have seen a major expansion of federal anchors locating within the park. Building upon NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation facility, the West Virginia High Technology Foundation has been able to recruit six major federal operations to the park. By reviewing these successes, one can begin to understand that a critical mass is forming that will provide a platform for even greater opportunities in the future.

Dr. John Deskins talks through WV's economic outlook.  

W.Va. faces partly sunny economic future due to ‘uneven recovery,’ according to expert economist | The State Journal

The state’s designated economic prognosticator, Dr. John Deskins, gave a partly sunny outlook for the next five years: Growth in some areas of the state while other areas will continue to face economic weaknesses and population loss. Speaking to more than 200 West Virginia business and political leaders, Deskins, economist and director of WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, painted “a picture of an uneven economic recovery” at the statewide Economic Outlook Conference in Charleston. The annual conference, now in its 25th year, takes a look at the West Virginia economy for the next five years, incorporating data and trends.

WV Forward, DRWV Foundation host a roundtable discussion on reducing the security clearance backlog.  

Experts: W.Va.’s high tech wave focused on cybersecurity | The Exponent Telegram

For anyone who ever wanted to be a professional computer hacker (or one of the guys who stops them) a new WV Forward Report suggests there’s never been a better time. The report, titled “Strategy for Economic Development and Growth,” noted 5 percent growth in the IT (information technology) field nationwide. That field includes cybersecurity, where computer whizzes work to protect company information from hackers, thieves and digital criminals of all kinds. WVU Senior Associate Vice President For Academic and Public Strategy Rocky Goodwin said that of the potential areas of growth noted in the report, cybersecurity is among the most promising.

Senator Joe Manchin, government officials participate in a roundtable discussion to address reducing the security clearance backlog in WV.  

WV Forward, DRWV host roundtable on urgency to reduce national security backlog to accelerate job growth in West Virginia | WVU Today

The increasing national backlog of security clearance approval hinders West Virginia’s ability to take advantage of one of the nation’s fasting growing economic sectors, prompting two development groups to convene a discussion Friday with Senator Joe Manchin, representatives from the office of Senator Shelley Moore Capito, and array of government officials and industry to discuss how to chip away at the buildup. West Virginia Forward, a collaboration of West Virginia University, the state Department of Commerce and Marshall University, joined with Discover the Real West Virginia to bring together Manchin, West Virginia National Guard members, congressional delegation representatives, government officials, business and industry executives and higher education leaders.

WVU Provost Joyce McConnell speaks during announcement of regional hub to train entrepreneurs, advance and commercialize healthcare technology  

WVU, partners announce regional hub to train entrepreneurs, commercialize healthcare technology |

Hoping to speed up the move from idea to application, West Virginia University and 23 other regional institutions have come together to create a “virtual hub” that will ultimately help speed the commercialization of groundbreaking university research. WVU, as part of its commitment to create and support a strong entrepreneurial culture in the state, will collaborate with XLerateHealth, a small business that focuses on healthcare technology startups and commercialization. The hub will help accelerate cutting-edge biomedical technologies and products move from the laboratory into the marketplace and commercialize new innovation in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, healthcare IT and electronics.

Artificial Intelligence  

Charles McElwee: Opportunities and perils of artificial intelligence | Charleston Gazette-Mail

An op-ed by Charles McElwee: The WV Public Education Collaborative and WV Forward, in collaboration with and financial support of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, will host a day-long, invitation-only forum in Charleston on Oct. 9, having as its theme, “Focus Forward: Preparing Today for the West Virginia of Tomorrow Understanding the Impact of Machine Learning on People, Education and Policy.” The forum will have speakers and panelists addressing various relevant aspects of the theme and conclude with the question, “Where do we go from here: Translating trends to policy,” involving Presidents Gordon Gee of WVU and Jerome Gilbert of Marshall University, and people involved in state leadership roles.

Footbridge to the Second Floor WVU College of Business and Economics Building  

Economic start-up engine coming to WVU | The Exponent Telegram

West Virginia University has taken another step forward in beefing up its entrepreneurship ecosystem with the Board of Governors having approved the creation of the College of Business and Economics Startup Engine. The startup engine is intended to help new businesses hone their ideas further and develop mentor relationships and partner with existing businesses. It is also meant to build upon WVU’s role as an R1 research institution while complementing the other 14 business support entities on campus.

David Miller, professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Mathematics, is a co-principal investigator on the grant and WVU’s campus coordinator  

WVU part of 10-university alliance improving diversity in STEM | WVU Today

West Virginia University continues to be part of a multimillion dollar effort across a 10-university alliance to support STEM education for underrepresented students in Appalachia. Funded for a third phase by a five-year, $3.5 million National Science Foundation grant beginning fall 2018, the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation will examine underrepresented students’ perceptions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines and careers and work to improve recruitment, retention and graduation rates of these students. Focused on undergraduate underrepresented students, the grant will continue to support experiential learning, stipends, workshops research activities and other activities at the alliance institutions.

Grade school students studying STEM  

WVU Center for Excellence in STEM Education and WV Forward partner to bring LIFT’s MakerMinded student competition to West Virginia | WVU Today

West Virginia University’s Center for Excellence in STEM Education and West Virginia Forward are working to improve STEM education while encouraging more students to study disciplines that will help build the state’s manufacturing talent pipeline. A new partnership with MakerMinded, designed and launched in 2016 by LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, will connect middle school and high school students with cutting-edge STEM and manufacturing learning experiences.

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