News Alert: southern West Virginia is open for business!

Active Southern West Virginia partners with government, higher education, business, and regional parks to improve the health and economy of southern West Virginia.

To participate in a growing global economy, communities need to attract the next generation of creative talent who seek a healthy, vibrant environment in which to build their careers and nurture their families. Southern West Virginia is becoming just such a place, where a culture of active living is building momentum thanks to the commitment of our local advocates. Here are some examples:

Education and Recreation

Graduates of the Adventure program will leave with well-developed field skills, a solid background in management and the kind of real-world experience that makes them

attractive to employers. As adventure recreation managers, they will play an increasingly important role in creating experiences that are safe, responsible and unforgettable.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology’s Beckley campus recently announced a new four-year bachelors degree in Adventure Recreation Management, preparing students to build careers in the adventure sports industry while taking advantage of the New River Gorge region’s many opportunities for outdoor activities.

The WVU Tech Adventure program focuses on rock climbing, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting.

Workforce Health

Active Southern West Virginia (Active SWV) and the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) are committed to improving the health of the region’s workforce by expanding its Workplace Wellness program. New River Community and Technical College and Active SWV signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide the staff of New River CTC with physical activity programs at its four campuses. New River CTC joins City of Beckley employees and regional businesses in recognizing the importance of a healthy workforce in building a strong economy.

President Washington and Melanie Seiler, Executive Director of Active SWV, signing the MOU together.

New River CTC Press Release: From volunteering as a Community Captain to participating in paddle boarding and REFIT, a few New River Community and Technical College employees were familiar with the programs offered through Active Southern West Virginia. When they heard about Active SWV’s Workplace Wellness initiative, they were interested in learning more and getting the college on board. New River CTC had participated in similar programs through PEIA in the past, but the programs were only for those participating in a PEIA insurance plan. The Active SWV program would be open to all college employees, faculty and staff, at New River CTC’s Greenbrier Valley, Mercer County, Nicholas County and Raleigh County Campuses.

With approval from New River CTC President Dr. Marshall Washington, a wellness committee was formed and the college representatives began working with Active SWV Executive Director Melanie Seiler and Community Health Director Emily Wilkinson on a program to meet employee health needs.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to bring a wellness program in to the college for all employees,” Washington said. “Increasing our physical activity and making better choices regarding the foods we eat have a direct impact on how we feel and our overall health. By partnering with Active SWV, we’re able to provide employees information and opportunities to help them make lifestyle changes to improve their health.“

On Wednesday, April 4 New River CTC and Active SWV celebrated the partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations, kicking of the wellness program at the college. A series of educational seminars, workshops and classes on physical activity, healthy eating, and preventing and controlling high blood pressure are being planned and educational materials will be distributed to the college campuses. The first phase of the program will run through December 2018, but plans are being made for continuation of the program.

The faculty and staff of New River CTC’s wellness committee members.

Federal and state resources available to community leaders

Active SWV has partnered with the National Park Service and four regional WV state parks to provide a venue for walking and hiking groups led by Active SWV Community Captains. For example, a group hike is scheduled for the first Sunday of the month from April through November. Experienced Active SWV Community Captains Levi and Rene Moore will lead each hike. See program descriptions here, Active SWV State Park Tour.
Click here to learn more about the Active SWV Community Captain program.

Community Captain Charity Wysong receiving her certificate for completing leadership training.

Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs no longer have to travel out of state to find support for their ideas. In partnership with the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and WVU Tech LaunchLab, the WV Hive was founded to recruit, train and mentor aspiring enterprises from four business incubators serving 12 counties in southern West Virginia. Co-working space, maker labs, and technical assistance are available to creatives who relish the opportunity to start a business in a place of boundless natural beauty and an array of outdoor activities.

WVU Tech students making a new business idea presentation at a recent entrepreneur pitch contest on campus.

Quality of place

Building a business, employing a healthy workforce, living with your family in a safe and active environment, while enjoying the support of passionate regional advocates, makes southern West Virginia an attractive alternative to the expense and stress of larger metropolitan areas.

“Country roads, take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia” – lyrics by John Denver (1943-1997)

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