• Workforce

  • Kanawha County is the most populous county in West Virginia and is located within the Charleston MSA - the state's premier business, financial, medical and governmental center.

    A stable and abundant workforce enables manufacturing businesses to flourish, including chemical, automotive, telecommunications and professional service sectors. Kanawha County serves as the central employment location for a nine-county area. West Virginians are more likely to travel outside of their home county for employment -- with 31.4 percent compared with the 26.7 national average, according to U.S. Census data. More than 11,000 people commute from neighboring Putnam County, while more than 2,000 people commute from Boone and Lincoln counties respectively. It is not uncommon for talented workers to enjoy the quality of life of a more mountainous region of West Virginia and travel up to an hour one-way for work in the Capital City region.

    Large regional employers include: 

    • Local Government: 13,300
    • State Government: 11,800
    • Charleston Area Medical Center: 6,800
    • Kanawha County Schools: 3,750 
    • Federal Government: 2,600
    • Thomas Memorial Hospital: 1,300
    • Toyota Motor Manufacturing: 1,300
    • Frontier Communications: 1,250 
    • Capital Area Service Company: 725 
    • Tri-State Racing & Mardi Gras Casino Resort: 500
    • Dow Chemical Company: 400
    • Trans Canada: 400
    • Gestamp Manufacturing: 400 


    Four fully accredited colleges and universities serve the Charleston MSA offering quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs. More than 20,000 students attend these institutions annually: 

    • BridgeValley Community and Technical College 
    • Marshall University Graduate School
    • University of Charleston 
    • West Virginia State University 


    If you'd like more information on the region's workforce and educational opportunities, please contact the Charleston Area Alliance. We are pleased to share and review data as well as discuss how we can help connect your business with the best talent for its needs. 


    Learn more about our workforce here: