West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore Visits WVNCC To Spark Interest in ‘Jumpstart’ Program
WHEELING — West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore is a trained welder, and he says if he had remained in that profession he would be earning more today than he does at his elected job.
The state treasurer’s pay is $95,000 annually, according to West Virginia Code.
Moore was in Wheeling on Friday and visited the Industrial Technology Center at West Virginia Northern Community College. While there, he showed off his welding skills and discussed with students the Jumpstart Savings Plan he created and got passed through the Legislature last year.
The Jumpstart Savings Program in West Virginia is the first of its kind in the nation. It is similar to a college savings program, but instead helps students save up dollars for tools, trucks and licensings fee costs they will incur in their trade careers after graduation.
The program allows individuals who wish to pursue a vocation or trade — ranging from welding to cosmetology — to make tax-free contributions to a savings and investment account up to $25,000 each year.
The program can be started for children, and those entering the trades can continue making contributions throughout their careers.
The program costs $25 to begin, and rolls out July 1.
Moore said representatives in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania all have contacted him asking about starting their own Jumpstart Savings Programs, as have federal lawmakers.
“When I was young, and working in mining operations, I wanted to start my own mobile welding business – and it was really cost prohibitive,” Moore said. “That’s really where I came up with this idea.”
The state already has a college savings plan, and Moore said “that is good.” But he wants to eliminate the stigma attached to trade school, especially as West Virginia needs more skilled trades workers.
Moore is the eldest grandson of the late Gov. Arch Moore, and the nephew of U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. But there are many welders on his mother’s side of the family, Moore explained.
As a trade school graduate, Moore said people frequently asked him what went wrong and why he didn’t go to college.
He eventually did work his way through college at James Mason University as a welder.
“I was in college when 9/11 happened, and then I got all wrapped up into national security and went to work for the Department of Homeland Security,” he explained.
WVNCC student Jarred Chappell is set to graduate this year from the welding program, and he said he definitely wants to invest in the Jumpstart Savings Program.
“I would like to put the money away and save for a truck,” he said.
Bryce Bauer is in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program, and he said he is thinking of switching to the welding program.
“I like working with my hands,” he said.
Bauer said he also plans to invest in the Jumpstart Savings Program.
“It doesn’t make sense not to,” he said. “It only takes $25.”