Out of the classroom, and locked out of the workplace. A KIDS COUNT report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation out this month shows only 40 percent of young West Virginians ages 16 to 24 hold a job, the lowest number since World War II.
"I was out of a job for about a year because nobody was hiring," says Amanda Greene, who decided to go back to school and reverse the trend. "I looked in Berkeley Springs, Martinsburg, Hagerstown, it was just so hard."
The report shows the youth employment rate in the state dropping to 40 percent in 2011, from 53 percent in 2000.
Nationally, the youth employment rate was 50 percent, down from 60 percent in 2000.
According to the report, teens and young adults are now competing more with older workers for entry level positions and they may not have the skills needed for well-paying jobs. That's why even those who aren't in school are looking for more education.
Jessica, who is 23 and currently unemployed, heads to Workforce West Virginia for computer training.
"I like it, it helps me feel better about myself, but I also feel that I can get a better job," says Jessica. "So as long as I have experience and I have something to prove, I'll have a better chance."