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Mountaineer Service Corps
Jobs Program

What WV Can’t Wait For

We'll create 33,000 living wage jobs with benefits--including in rural, economically distressed areas--with the Mountaineer Service Corps.
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What We’re Up Against

West Virginia’s economy is in turmoil. Compared to a generation ago, we have fewer jobs. Good jobs are harder to get, and harder to keep. And our wages are stagnating while inequality grows

While our working people are more productive than ever, we end up with a smaller and smaller slice of the pie

We face several problems as a result of this population decline and "the struggle to stay."

It doesn't have to be this way.

We can and will create a thriving economy together, literally building it from the ground up: The solution is a public works jobs program funded by the same industries that have busted our communities, and profited from our pain. 

Public works programs that improve infrastructure also improve quality-of-life for working West Virginians and attract businesses. It's exactly what we need, and on a large scale.

We will create an economy where West Virginians have the opportunity to thrive right here in West Virginia--if we fight for it.

Our Plan

  1. Create 33,000 good jobs in WV with a state-level Works Progress Administration, called the Mountaineer Service Corps jobs program, and through other initiatives:
    • Employ 3,900 new, unionized workers to work for the public through state/local government and non-profit organizations at a living wage, with benefits. The jobs funded by the plan will take into account gender and racial equity issues, and include state park maintenance assistants; community center workers, COVID trackers/tracers, sanitation workers, stay-at-home caregivers, lab workers (for test processing), state nurses (for administering tests), trainers for remote tech, PPE distribution, removal of invasive plants to expand agricultural land; public art and history creators and coordinators; agricultural extension workers; foresters; disaster relief workers; court watchers; peer recovery coaches and recovery coaches; child care workers, Child Protective Services workers; drivers for seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans; officers to organize river/land clean-ups, and clean-up crews; ex-offender re-entry workers; school garden coordinators; summer feeding program aides; economic development fellows to assist small business owners; energy efficiency jobs; homegrown community-based mental health and recovery models (like Libera and SOAR); volunteer coordinators for benefits programs; Senior Service members, and more. This plan will be a powerful tool to encourage, support, strengthen, and expand the work already being done by citizens in low-income communities, local government, congregations, and charity organizations.
    • Fund 7000+ skilled jobs in water and sewer infrastructure maintenance/repair, energy efficiency, solar installations on 1000 public buildings, and more. Work will be done in every county, and water/sewer infrastructure will be made available especially to distressed small towns with aging systems and few or no municipal workers. (see Protect Our Land, Water and Working People Plan).
    • Establish a Summer Youth Mountaineer Corps--1,000 summer jobs for young people at $3500 each. The 1,000 positions will include staffing summer feeding programs, planting state orchards and food forests, working to create local Victory Gardens, organizing a state seed bank, and other learning experiences for young West Virginians, akin to FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps, which "worked on reforestation and conservation projects; fought forest fires; built shelters, fire towers, fire stations, roads, and trails; strung electric and telephone lines; and planted thousands of trees," in addition to building many of our state parks.
    • Create 600+ jobs for people in recovery, ex-offenders, and others on the front-lines (see Recovery Can’t Wait Plan).
    • Enact tax credits to create 1,000 jobs for people with disabilities, where the program would cover half the salary of those employed (see our Freedom for People with Disabilities plan for details).
    • Get 1,000 displaced miners back into the workforce through tax breaks each year for companies that employ laid off miners or their family members (See Miners Bill of Rights).
    • Invest in reaching high-quality broadband infrastructure to rural areas (see Broadband for All plan), eventually creating 5,000+ jobs that not only improve the quality of life in small towns and rural areas, but also make it more attractive for businesses.
    • Create 15,000 jobs by capitalizing small, local businesses through the State Bank. Over the next 10 years, the Public Bank of West Virginia will capitalize 30,000 small businesses (3,000 per year) through our Small Business Revolution, because high-impact startups create jobs at a higher rate than any other sector of the economy.
  2. Fund the jobs program by keeping our wealth here, and investing our communities, so we can make sure West Virginians benefit from our resources:
    • Raise natural gas and oil severance tax to 10%.
    • Raise the natural gas liquids tax to 15%.
    • Put protections in place to ensure that out-of-state corporations getting rich from our state's wealth are paying the severance taxes, and not off-loading them onto WV mineral rights owners by deducting them as post-production expenses.
  3. Further expand the Mountaineer Service Corp jobs program in the future by employing a highly qualified grant writing committee to seek tens of millions in additional, supporting funds--and seeking partners for the Mountaineer Service Corps job program. (Included in our Government of the People plan)

How We Pay For It

Revenues:

Total - $265 million in revenue for us, by shifting taxes away from working and rural people, and onto out-of-state consumers of our resources as well as the out-of-state executives.

Some of this bounty may be set aside to help capitalize the State Bank of West Virginia, which will fund infrastructure projects such as fixing the roads and repairing our crumbling water and sewer infrastructure, as mentioned above--things that not only create jobs, but improve the quality of life for all West Virginians.

Costs:

Total - $140 million

  • $136.5 million - Creation of 3900 living-wage jobs with benefits  at $35,000 each. (An additional $5,000+ for each job will be raised through local non-profits, federal grants, or other matching funds.)
  • $3.5 million - Summer Youth Mountaineer Service Corps

For the People with Disabilities Jobs program ($20 million), the Water - Sewer - Green Infrastructure Jobs program ($166 million, see Environmental plan), Broadband jobs ($22 million, see Broadband for All Plan), jobs tax credits for employing displaced miners ($20 million), Recovery Jobs program ($10 million), and investments in small businesses by the State Bank via the Small Business Revolution ($75 million), costs are included in other plans.

Every one of our New Deal plans was written by West Virginians.

  • Our volunteers asked 11,000 of their neighbors, “What would you do if you were Governor?”
  • Our candidates attended 197 Town Halls, taking notes in community centers, church basements, union halls, and small businesses.
  • Educators met after work to start sketching out their perfect school.
  • Nurses traded ideas on the picket line.
  • Our county and constituency captains ratified a first platform in the fall of 2019 and updated it in the spring of 2020 to reflect the current pandemic.

But the legacy of this New Deal dates back to John Brown and Mother Jones, to the United Mine Workers of America and the suffragettes, to the Poor People’s Movement and the CIO.

No one politician or slate of candidates can win this plan alone. We need you.

If you have an idea for how to make this plan stronger, or if you would like to lend a hand to win it, contact our candidate for Governor Stephen Smith at stephen@wvcantwait.com.

 

FUND THE
MOVEMENT

 

We created a movement together, a movement to build a people’s government by and for working people—not millionaires. When we fight each other we lose. When we fight FOR each other, we win.

JOIN THE
MOVEMENT

 

We have hundreds of volunteers in every corner of the state, and a whole slate of Not-For-Sale candidates running together. It will take 1,000 leaders not 1 to win a West Virginia that works for all of us.