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West Virginia Forward Information

A Blueprint to Help Engineer West Virginia's Economic Future.

West Virginia Forward began as a collaboration among West Virginia University, the West Virginia Department of Commerce and Marshall university. Now a larger, statewide movement — all funded through private donations — West Virginia Forward is teaming up with stakeholders and experts, taking action to drive growth and development.


Through a data-driven, nonpartisan assessment of opportunities mapped by independent management company McKinsey & Company, this blueprint aims to advance West Virginia’s: 

  • Workforce 
  • Business Climate 
  • Educational Opportunities 
  • Community Development 
  • Manufacturing and Energy Sectors 
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Entrepreneurship 
  • Infrastructure 

West Virginia Forward is elevating valuable resources and aligning statewide efforts to spring ideas to action.

Guiding Principles: 

  • Build on Existing A ssets
  • Grow and Diversify Into New Sectors
  • Improve performance of major economic enablers
  • Consider our Regional Impact
  • Find Quick Wins

Large-Scale Priorities.


Depiction showing growth and diversification

Growth and diversification require a business-friendly climate.

  • Maintain West Virginia as one of the top states for the cost of doing business. 
  • Improve West Virginia’s workforce participation. Strengthen our talent pipeline. 
  • Keep West Virginia's industrial electricity rates competitive. 
  • Add value to West Virginia’s raw materials by creating manufacturing and downstream opportunities across the state.
workforce and people

A diverse economy and talent pipeline rely on a strong educational system and vocational training.

  • Invest in P-20 education to prepare today's students to be tomorrow's talent.
  • Continue to amplify efforts in STEM education and the arts.      
  • Offer customized technical training and enhance research at all educational levels.
  • Maximize the economic development potential in West Virginia's cybersecurity, coding and IT services sectors.
depiction of innovation

Investing in our people and innovative solutions can help solve regional challenges.

  • Showcase the best of West Virginia and our people.
  • Support tourism promotion by targeting new visitors, adventure tourism and promoting second-home ownership. 
  • Enhance the state's innovation ecosystem to support business creation and growth, and catalyst investment.        
  • Work together to fight statewide substance abuse and the opioid epidemic through a holistic approach.

Be part of something bigger.

We want to hear from you. Share your ideas. Stay informed. Help us move West Virginia Forward.

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*Citations available upon request.