Vision Shared is focusing on the "need for West Virginia to have a diverse economy."
Lawrence also praised the cooperation the group's efforts are getting from Kenney Perdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, and Steve White, executive director of the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation.
Caperton stressed the need for increased technology.
"I don't think we have demanded of our teachers and education system that they use technology as much as they need to use it. If we don't challenge all of our students to use these skills, we will have problems."
Wise said, "West Virginia was the first state that worked to integrate technology with education on a statewide basis.
"Today, we want to work with all of our [school] districts to make sure they have a plan to effectively use technology."
Caperton said he attended a dinner Sunday night with seven people from West Virginia and 10 from China.
"The Chinese were interested in becoming partners in the natural resource business, particularly in the natural gas business. China will be using our manpower.
"This is a tough time for the coal business. But it is an amazing time for the natural gas business," Caperton said.
"We should also be teaching foreign languages in our schools, particularly Asian languages that will help us export our services. ...
"We have a great workforce with people that work very hard. But we need to educate them to help economic development," Caperton said.
Wise said the natural gas business is a major example of why technology education is so important.
"Fracking and hydraulic drilling are sophisticated at a technological level that grows every day. ... When I grew up, you didn't need advanced education to get a job in the coal mines, steel mills or chemical plants."
Most of today's jobs, Wise said, require workers to have taken at least some courses beyond high school.
Both Caperton and Wise believe Community and Technical College System of West Virginia plays "very important" role in training students for employment in our current job market.
Wise also noted the increasing enrollment in "massive open online courses," which connect even international "students" to U.S. classrooms.
"MOOC courses are already being used in higher education. Soon, they will be coming to [kindergarten through 12th-grade] classes."
Wise and other supporters of MOOC classes believe they give students unprecedented access to some of the country's best professors and teachers.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.