Once the plan is rolled out, "we'll have more partners stepping up to the plate," he said.
Manchin said another such prospective partner-in-waiting is the Appalachian Regional Commission.
"Some of these groups are saying 'we're here for you, we just have to see the plan. We have to see where we fit in the scheme of things,'" she said.
A former furniture store and warehouse in Welch is being converted into apartments for a "teacher village," Manchin said, but it's going to take a lot more than that to beef up the quality of educators in McDowell County.
"We're going to have to be creative in what we offer young teachers coming in, whether it's loan forgiveness or some kind of package deal that would not only encourage them to come, but to come and stay three years with the hope that, maybe if they came, they'd fall in love with the kids and the area and stay," she said.
Manchin hopes one byproduct of the project is that young adults -- whether they're teachers or students -- grow to love the region's outdoor offerings.
"You're close to whitewater rafting, hiking and biking and some of the things that people move to Colorado to do," Manchin said. "Well, you can do that here in West Virginia."
McDowell County ranks last in many health areas. The county has a premature-death rate nearly double the state average, and it also has high rates of physical inactivity, adult smoking and obesity.
According to statistics compiled by Reconnecting McDowell, 72 percent of the county's students live in households lacking gainful employment, and 46 percent of them don't live with their biological parents. Additionally, the county leads the United States in fatal prescription-painkiller overdoses.
The Department of Education took over control of McDowell County's schools more than a decade ago, but the county continues to suffer West Virginia's worst dropout rate and has become among the nation's poorest areas.
Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a compromise to ease the process that McDowell County must follow to become a school innovation zone. The program frees selected schools from some state rules and policies, giving them greater flexibility to embrace new ideas and teaching strategies.