Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the state's economic development team deserve credit for their work to get the Sogefi Group to invest $20 million in its plant in Wayne County, which will add 250 jobs and more than double its work force.
The company has plants on four continents, and the plant in Prichard was Sogefi's first in North America.
Here is hoping that Italian automotive company gets a return on its money so high that it re-invests again and again in its plant, which makes fuel pumps, fuel filters and oil filters.
That has been Toyota's experience in Buffalo, where the Japanese company found highly capable and motivated workers. Foreign investors are discovering they can make money in West Virginia, and tax incentives and cheap loans from the state help.
Their success should send the message to others that they can make money in West Virginia.
But while Sogefi's expansion confirms the validity of the state's plan to attract new businesses here, the Sogefi story also showed a need to expand that game plan to include helping West Virginians stay and be successful here. The general manager of the plant, Troy Thomas, grew up in Kanawha County but he had to seek opportunities elsewhere.
"I left home at 18 to go to college and I stayed away for about 15 years," Thomas said. "Like so many West Virginians, I missed home."
The state is working on that. The Promise scholarships that pay the tuition for state residents at colleges in the state was designed to help keep West Virginia natives in West Virginia. Of course, that mainly depends on the availability of jobs, including the ability to start a company here.
To that end, a new Angel Fund that Tomblin announced last week may help. The fund pools the money of investors which them helps finance new companies or expansions.
The state must do what it can to facilitate the success of companies of all kinds, because West Virginians need the opportunity to stay here and work.