The West Virginia Education, Research & Technology Park has retained more than 550 high-paying, high-quality jobs in West Virginia, according to a new report from Battelle and CH2M Hill released today. Considering economic multipliers, the park has supported more than 1,000 additional jobs in the state and produced more than $600 million in economic output.
Battelle, a preeminent research and development organization, conducted the months-long study and recommendations for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The commission will take ownership of the park on Dec. 15.
The Battelle report includes information on the “next steps” in the development of the Tech Park, but it also provides data on the jobs and economic impact of the businesses and jobs already in located there:
“Today, as the park property transitions to the Higher Education Policy Commission, the state has been able to retain these high paying jobs, which average $81,900 in salaries and wages,” the report says.
“This represents a total payroll of nearly $39 million with estimated direct and indirect income impacts of over $96 million annually. This activity translates into millions of dollars in state and local taxes collected each year. Few recent state economic development deals have offered as high a return on investment.
“But it is the long-term potential for creating an innovation and technology development driver for reinvigorating the global competitiveness of the state’s long-standing chemical and energy sectors that stands to offer the highest economic development pay-offs for the state.”
“The Charleston Area Alliance would like to acknowledge the hard work and diligence of Battelle and CH2MHill, along with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, in completing the assessment and development plan for the former Dow Technology Park,” said Alliance President and CEO Matt Ballard.
“This has been an open process, with all stakeholders having input. Mixing those ideas with the skills, expertise and knowledge of Battelle to recommend best practices in the development and management of technology parks has generated a solid document.”
HEPC Chancellor Brian Nolland appointed Ballard to serve on the Tech Park steering committee.
“This regional project will have a wide geographic impact,” Ballard said. “The park’s employment base spans from Ashland, Ky., to Charleston, to Flatwoods, to Ripley. While the jobs help our regional economy, the innovation potential for the park will positively impact our entire state and even the nation. After all, it is innovation that will be the driver to bring us out of this global economic slump.
“Now, the next phase begins,” Ballard continued. “We encourage all stakeholders to maintain their focus on the long-term goal of generating new investment and new jobs and diversifying the tax base through innovation and technology.”
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission press release, which describes the four primary recommendations of the report can be found at http://www.wvresearch.org/techpark/news.htm.