Trey Kay Published

West Virginia Struggles To Reinvent Itself As A Start-Up State To Attract And Retain Young Professionals

West Virginia's State Seal reflected in the eye of a young person.
Lalena Price

West Virginia has trouble keeping people. In the past decade the state has lost more than three percent of its population. There were more deaths in the state than births, and more people left the state than moved in. It leaves a lot of people wondering what the future of the Mountain State will be. Demographic changes from one census to the next shows some of the costs. West Virginia will soon lose a congressional district as a result, but there are other consequences. West Virginia is older than most states and its young people are leaving; however, there are efforts to stem the tide. One goal is to remake the Mountain State into the Start Up State and to attract and keep a new generation of remote workers to call West Virginia home.

For this episode, Us & Them host Trey Kay asks students from his alma mater George Washington High School in Charleston, West Virginia, if they can envision their future in in their home state. He checks in with Sean O’Leary, Senior Policy Analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, about what the numbers tell us about why the state is losing people. Trey also speaks with West Virginia native and former Intuit CEO Brad Smith, who’s trying to transform the Mountain State into the “Start-up State.”

Brad Smith photo

Brad D. Smith, Executive Chairman of Intuit and West Virginia native, has recently announced an initiative to encourage remote workers to relocate to the Mountain State.

Click to find more information about the remote workers relocation program that Brad Smith talks about in the episode, Ascend West Virginia.

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

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