CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Thousands of younger West Virginians have fallen into limbo. They have no jobs and they aren't in school. They're lost in a void, mostly living at home, going nowhere.
A sad report Monday by Opportunity Nation ranked West Virginia and Mississippi as worst in this dilemma. In both states, 20 percent of people between 16 and 24 are out of classes and out of work. The national average is 15 percent.
Opportunity Nation is a coalition of businesses and nonprofits focused on "closing the opportunity gap in America." It produces an Opportunity Index, ranking states where young people have better chances for careers. West Virginia is seventh from the bottom.
When young people aren't productive, it's a dismal drag on the U.S. economy. It hurts them, their families and society at large. To reduce this damage, America needs more college scholarships, more job training and all other efforts to open gateways into adult life.