By Natalie Roper – Executive Director, Generation West Virginia
Our young people are leaving the state in droves. According to a Payscale.com study, 72 percent of WVU graduates leave the state within five years of graduating. That’s almost three out of every four graduates we are losing to other states, three out of four innovative minds, passionate community members and taxpaying citizens who are solving other states’ complex problems and sustaining other states’ tax bases.
Despite the publicized session priority to pass laws that make our state a place where more of our youth can live and work, the Legislature’s votes prioritized outdated infrastructure that does not attract, and even repels, the next generation of employers and employees.
Twenty-first-century businesses and professionals do not choose states that function on business models that worked 50 years ago.
Infrastructure that attracts young talent is one that invests in the highest internet speeds, supports innovation and entrepreneurship, and values diversity and equality. These qualities not only attract top businesses, but also an eager workforce. In making decisions about where to live and work, young professionals look at far more than a job. In the age of the internet where people can work from anywhere, our generation chooses to work in great places to live.