Three communities in West Virginia have been chosen as hosts for a remote worker program that includes funding by the founder of Intuit.

Lewisburg, Morgantown and Shepherdstown are part of an initiative to lure and retain new residents to West Virginia. The program is supported by the state, as well as West Virginia University through a $25 million from Brad Smith, a Kenova native.

It targets fully employed individuals from outside West Virginia who can work anywhere. Outdoor enthusiasts or young families will be given preference during the application process.

The three phase-one communities were selected by a panel of officials from WVU using guidelines established by the state Department of Tourism with regards to a community’s readiness for a remote worker program.

“The three communities — Morgantown, Shepherdstown and Lewisburg — all have unique characteristics that make them great communities, but also have similar traits that are attractive to remote workers,” said Danny Twilley, assistant dean of WVU’s Brad & Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative.

“These towns have a recipe that makes them vibrant places to live, with great local food, shopping, arts, culture and tremendous outdoor recreation assets. When you pair this with access to good schools, medical care and access to transportation, we have three communities that will appeal to remote workers who want to have a great place to live, work and play.”

DMV CELEBRATES MILESTONE: West Virginia’s Division of Motor Vehicles surpassed a major milestone in February by surpassing one million online transactions.

“We are thrilled to pass that one million mark,” Everett Frazier, DMV Commissioner, said in a release. “The DMV continues to look for ways to make our services easier, more convenient and accessible to customers. We have been adding services to our website … since April 2014, and more and more customers are seeing the convenience of doing DMV business from the comfort and safety of their homes.”

The DMV online services portal also handles driver services. It has completed more than 208,000 driver’s license renewals along with 20,000 duplicate transactions.

W.VA. COLLEGES RANKED: Research website has ranked West Virginia’s higher education institutions, with West Virginia University, Marshall University and Wheeling Jesuit University occupying the top three spots.

A notable takeaway from the report is that West Virginia residents paid an estimated average of $8,570 for in-state tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges in 2020-21. That’s about median cost, as the average in-state tuition and fees during that time fluxated nationally. For example: The average price tag was less in Wyoming ($5,790) and Florida ($6,370), but significantly higher in New Hampshire ($16,960) and Vermont ($17,510).

The report named Davis & Elkins College as the in-state school with the best financial aid offerings, while WVU-Parkersburg was named as the most affordable.

WHEELING NATIVE HONORED: The international law firm K&L Gates LLP has named Wheeling native Peter J. Kalis as chairman emeritus.

Kalis, a WVU graduate, served as chairman and later as global managing partner from 1997 until 2017. While at the helm, Gates grew from six offices in the eastern United States to having a global presence in more than 40 cities on five continents. Revenue grew by more than 740% during his tenure.

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