Jennifer Bostian, the executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority. / Submitted photo

Economic development director: New high school would contribute to Upshur County’s economic vitality

Editor’s note: The following column does not represent the consensus of the Upshur County Development Authority board.

BUCKHANNON — As the new Executive Director of the Upshur County Development Authority, I’ve been on a listening tour over the past several months to learn more about Upshur County and what we have to offer new people and businesses. 

I have heard over and over what a great place Upshur County is to call home and as a new resident, I’m enchanted with this place. I feel so much peace and tranquility in my new home. It’s obvious to me that the people of Upshur County have been committed to building this county with an eye towards its neighborly values, treasuring its small-town feel, and staying a safe place. Over the years, it is obvious that the city and county leaderships have worked hard to build quality of life and a pro-business climate.

I’m writing this opinion piece in support of the construction of a new high school and improving the existing high school for our middle schoolers because we all have to keep investing to continue this strong tradition.

Among the top factors that business executives consider when choosing a location is the availability of an educated, skilled and qualified workforce. In fact, in recent years it is the MOST important factor they are looking at. Please bear in mind that business executives make a decision to stay in a place for these same reasons. Upshur County needs high-quality public schools which will make us more economically competitive.   

If Upshur County invests in these facilities, we will have a fantastic and compelling narrative to tell people and businesses about keeping their business here or locating their new business here. Providing high-quality education in top-notch facilities is directly related to a highly productive workforce. It will be clear that this county believes in developing its most important and valuable resource – its children.    

Please vote for the new school bond. In doing so, all Upshur County residents can ensure that critically important investments needed for our schools and most importantly, for our children are made. Having a high school that develops college-ready and career-ready young people is critical to a flourishing economy and high-quality community. 

– Jennifer Bostian, Executive Director, Upshur County Development Authority

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