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Warner and Bolling focus on jobs during visits to western Virginia

Officials say workforce training and new fiber optic network have implications for economic development

November 09, 2010|Joe Dashiell | Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. — Two of the state's top elected officials put the focus on jobs today in western Virginia.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner touted training for green energy jobs during a stop in Buena Vista. Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling highlighted construction of a fiber optic network in Alleghany County.

Both projects were funded with federal stimulus dollars and both, supporters say, have implications for economic development.
"The wind flows coming down off the Virginia Coast are some of the best wind opportunities on the whole East Coast," Warner said as he was briefed on a Dabney Lancaster Community College program that trains wind turbine technicians.
"I think over the next 25 years there's going to be more jobs and wealth created around the world in the energy sector than any other sector," Warner said, "and it would be a shame if America ceded that leadership in areas like renewable energies or just plain old energy conservation to other countries like China."
His visit to Buena Vista Tuesday afternoon highlighted a five million dollar federal grant to the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board.  The funding will provide workforce training for a thousand  people in 10 counties and six cities.


Lieutenant Governor Bolling visited the nTelos Service Center in Covington, where a new fiber optic network promises new broadband services for residents and businesses in the Alleghany Highlands.
"That's going to help improve the quality of life of citizens who can get access to this service," Bolling told News 7, "but it's also going to help improve the economic competitiveness of the region in recruiting new business, industry and jobs."

We asked the Lieutenant Governor how he reconciled his support for this project with concerns he and other Republicans have raised about federal stimulus spending. Bolling said there are parts of the stimulus package that make sense, especially critical infrastructure projects that are public-private partnerships.  In this case, he noted the eight million dollar federal grant required an eight million dollar match from nTelos.

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