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Focus Forward symposium to highlight job growth, economic opportunities in diversified energy sector

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The West Virginia Public Education Collaborative, based at WVU, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, will host the Focus Forward conference on Wednesday, April 5. (WVU Graphic)

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WHAT: The West Virginia Public Education Collaborative, based at West Virginia University, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, will host the fifth annual Focus Forward conference, featuring discussions about economic and workforce opportunities in the energy sector.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

WHERE: Platinum Ballroom, Salons A-E, Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place, Two Waterfront Place, Morgantown

WHO: More than 300 business, government, education and community leaders from across West Virginia are expected to attend.

Speakers include the following:

• U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin
WVU President Gordon Gee
• Marshall University President Brad Smith
• Gayle Manchin, co-chair, Appalachian Regional Commission
• Sarah Tucker, chancellor, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System of West Virginia
• Nathan Flesher, McKinsey and Company partner
• Valerie Karplus, Carnegie Mellon University engineering and public policy expert
• Sara Lewis-Stankus, deputy state Superintendent of Schools
• Sen. Amy Grady, chair, state Senate Education Committee
• Industry experts from Nucor Steel West Virginia, PPC Metals-TIMET, Form Energy and ARCH2

See the full schedule of speakers and event agenda.

NOTES: Members of the media who are interested in attending the conference should contact Katie Farmer at 315-256-8509 or ahead of the event.

Each year, Focus Forward addresses how emerging issues will affect West Virginia’s economy and workforce. Past topics have included artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, supercomputing assets and innovative technologies. 

The conference welcomes experts from the national, state and local levels to discuss how West Virginia can best prepare to take on these issues, ready its workforce, attract new businesses and grow the economy. 



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WVU Office of the Provost

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