The task force consists of five individuals focusing on analyzing the problem from both a supply-and-demand perspective. He added that his office would have big announcements with regard to fighting substance abuse.
"We're doing everything in our power to make sure West Virginia reaches its economic potential," he said.
Rev. Matthew Watts, CEO of HOPE Community Development in Charleston, said he wants education to catch up with technology.
"What's needed is reengineering and redesign to meet emerging workforce needs," Watts said.
He wants his neighborhood, Charleston's West Side, to have the same type of commitment to academic excellence that "we do in football."
Additionally, he said it's important to realize that "every child doesn't come to school with the same advantages."
Former West Virginia House of Delegate member and educator Josh Stowers said students need vocational options earlier. He'd like students in the seventh- and eighth-grade to know there are ways to be successful other than a four-year degree.
"There are jobs out there," Stowers said. "It's getting students to the point that they're finishing [school]."
Kathy D'Antoni, assistant superintendent for the West Virginia Department of Education, said the largest obstacle in West Virginia's education future is getting students excited about learning.
"If you watch a bus stop in the morning ... the kids going into first-grade are so happy and by third-grade, they hate it," she said. "The number one key is turning kids on to education."
Del. Amanda Pasdon, R-Monongalia and the minority chairwoman for the House Education Committee, cited her business background in supporting charter schools in the state.
"Any market competition improves a market, and with that being said, I'd be in favor of charter schools," Pasdon said.
Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.co...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.