Carissa Sellards, a sophomore at WVU-Charleston, sits at a coffee shop in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S. August 23, 2016.    REUTERS/Valerie Volcovici

Carissa Sellards, a sophomore at WVU-Charleston, sits at a coffee shop in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.

August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Valerie Volcovici

 

Looking past vote, U.S. coal country sees millennials as key to revival

By Valerie Volcovici | HUNTINGTON, WV

 

When Carissa Sellards talks to her West Virginia University friends about post-graduation plans, one dilemma keeps coming up – whether to stay in their home state or strike out for more promising opportunities elsewhere.

If recent history holds, over half of them will either not find work or leave the state, contributing to a brain drain of young talent that is pushing the state to try to reinvent its economy and break with a coal industry in long-term decline.

“Companies don’t come here to invest because they only associate us with coal,” said Sellards, a 20-year-old sophomore who addressed the state legislature when she was in high school about the lack of opportunities for young people in a post-coal economy.

“Companies don’t come here to invest because they only associate us with coal,” said Sellards, a 20-year-old sophomore who addressed the state legislature when she was in high school about the lack of opportunities for young people in a post-coal economy.

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