Two former West Virginia governors say in order for the state to diversify its economy, it needs to focus on a good educational foundation.
Former governors Bob Wise and Gaston Caperton discussed the roles of education and technology in Monday's Conversations in Innovation seminar, hosted at the University of Charleston by Vision Shared, an economic development organization.
Wise and Caperton said the younger generation not only needs a good education but a proper skill set to compete in today's job market.
And it could be a tough world for younger workers.
Almost 6 million people, or nearly 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24, are neither in school nor working, according to The Opportunity Nation Coalition's recent report.
The Opportunity Nation Coalition's report included Internet access, college graduation rates, income inequality and public safety in its factors for success.
In West Virginia, which has a 7 percent unemployment rate, the report estimates that one in five young people are idle.
Although the state unemployment rate has decreased since 2011, this may not take into account people who give up looking all together, according to The Associated Press.
Other studies have shown that these idle young adults aren't getting the chance to build skills they may later need or use what they've learned in college. This means they may not be able to get higher-paying jobs.
"If you ask an employer what they want in an employee, you would tell me something different than you would years ago," Wise said, noting in his experience, employers want workers possessing knowledge about technology along with critical and creative thinking skills.