High-tech: Toyota, Hino show what West Virginia can do

West Virginians are doing a better job than ever talking about the possibilities in high-technology jobs We have some good partners on that front. Toyota Motors has announced it is expanding its plant in Putnam County. That will create 123 new jobs, likely in the production of transaxles for hybrid vehicles.

More than 20 years ago, when Toyota decided to build the Putnam County plant, officials expected the facility would employ about 300 people. But since then, counting the added 123 positions, the plant’s payroll has accelerated to nearly 2,000.

Toyota has discovered the stereotypes so many of our fellow Americans have about the Mountain State are wildly incorrect. The Putnam County facility has been one of the firm’s top performers in various aspects of production. And, of course, here in Wood County we count Hino Motors as one of our better neighbors — and one that has also been able to grow because of the value it found in our local workforce.

Vehicle manufacturing has become a high-technology enterprise, requiring the kind of skilled, dedicated, versatile workforce many companies seek. They can be found right here in West Virginia.

Luring more high-tech companies to our state is at the very top of economic development officials’ wish lists, as it should be. We hope as they talk to new prospects, they are pointing to companies such as Toyota and Hino as examples of the fantastic partnership that can develop when companies find out just how much Mountain State workers have to offer.