The new study by WalletHub said West Virginia is 2017’s worst state for jobs. The study looked at all 50 states’ job market strength, opportunities and economic environment.
“Before I went away to college, I thought I wasn’t going to ever come back, but I missed it so much and it’s such a great place,” Rugeley said.
Rugeley now has two businesses, including a boutique called Virginia Lee and an online business called The Initialed Life.
Rugeley is also the co-chair of Generation Charleston, which is a committee of the Charleston Area Alliance. The group connects young professionals. It provides a monthly social event and networking in the area.
“I think it’s really important to show that there’s more to life than just working in Charleston and Generation Charleston is a great opportunity to show when you’re not working, you can make new friends, you can get involved in the community,” Rugeley said.
The group hopes to get more young people to stay.
On WorkForce West Virginia’s job listings, out of 2,707 jobs 537 require college degrees.
Rugeley said more small businesses in the area would help.
“I think it’s a great hub for entrepreneurs. If we got a lot of small businesses, everybody can contribute and create jobs,” Rugeley said.
Morgan Krieger is back home in Charleston after graduating from West Virginia University. She is working part-time jobs and has a nonprofit called I Love Nice People. She is still searching for a permanent job though.
Krieger said the state needs more jobs opportunities for college graduates.
“If a big business came and brought a lot of jobs that college individuals would want I think that would be a great push,” Krieger said.
Krieger also believes people just don’t realize what the state has to offer.
“When people actually come and get to see Charleston or Fayetteville and all that West Virginia really has to offer, they realize it’s actually an amazing state and it brings them back, but it’s just getting those people here, especially people who just graduated,” Krieger said.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., gave his thoughts on this new report about West Virginia’s job climate. Manchin said he has been to 17 job fairs over the last year across West Virginia and the problem is workers, not jobs.
“I had over 100 vendors come looking for people to hire but couldn’t find them, OK, so I know we have jobs in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “I get sick and tired of hearing there’s no jobs. I don’t have the workers to fill the jobs that we have. We need workers with better skill sets and not addicted.”