For the first time in 30 years, Kanawha County has an increase in student enrollment.

“This is quite a turnaround,” said Steve Ro-berts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “This is a good indication that the economy in West Virginia is turning for the better.”

Roberts made the announcement of Kana-wha’s student enrollment increase at the Beckley Rotary Club meeting Tuesday.

“I just got this report this afternoon and I don’t know if there are other increases in other counties as well,” he said.

Roberts said the increase could also be considered tangible evidence that workers’ compensation and medical malpractice reforms are having a positive effect on the state business climate.

“One could conclude that these changes have improved the business climate in the state, which improved the overall economy, which means more jobs and more people coming to West Virginia,” he said.

Roberts said other reforms, including insurance reform, privatization of workers’ compensation and government reorganization, are leading to great progress for the state.

“The new workers’ compensation system appears to be on track,” he said. “We are in the transition period, but most employers I have talked with think this new system is going to work well for everyone.”

Roberts said he was honored to speak to the Beckley Rotarians.

“I am a little biased when it comes to the Rotary Club,” he said. “I’m a Paul Harris Fellow Rotarian myself.”

Roberts said the Rotary Club and other civic organizations are the life-blood of communities.

“They bring people together in goodwill and they take on issues and topics that are of interest to the community and help to better the community,” he said. “It is truly an honor to be asked to speak to the Beckley Rotary Club.”

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