BLEAK economic conditions have led generations of West Virginians to leave their homes for jobs in other states.
Akron was once jokingly referred to as the capital of the state because so many West Virginians moved there. But the town retired as the Tire Capital of the World and West Virginians headed south to North Carolina.
Now jobs are drying up down there.
Mexico may be next.
TK Mining Services Worldwide was among the companies at a jobs fair last week at Tamarack. It is seeking experienced miners. Its openings include 35 jobs in Mexico - as well as eight in Australia and 100 in Canada.
"This is a great opportunity for miners, especially if they are young and want to travel, and TK is an excellent company to work for," said project manager John Paul Coats.
Mining requires skills, judgment and experience. There always seem to be job openings for people with skills - and for those who want to travel, the more skilled a job is, the more portable it is.
NOT all the coal production is overseas. King Coal may not be a prophet in his own land thanks to an overzealous Environmental Protection Agency, but 2011 was a banner year for coal. Exports topped 107 million tons last year, the highest in 20 years.
Exports to South Korea jumped 81 percent. Exports to India jumped 65 percent. Japan's purchases more than doubled in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
Environmentalists oppose burning coal to generate electricity. But given the restrictions and pollution controls already in place in the United States, would it not be better for the environment worldwide if the coal were burned here to generate electricity rather than across the ocean where conditions are less than ideal?
THE Parkways Authority, which oversees the West Virginia Turnpike, gave a $7.2 million contract to West Virginia Paving Co. this week for milling and resurfacing some sections of the roadway.
All of the work is part of a 10-year deferred maintenance program, Turnpike Manager Greg Barr told the Register Herald in Beckley.
"It takes time, but we're gaining on it," he said.