(03/23/2018)
In a new study released from WalletHub, West Virginia is considered the third least innovative state in the country.

The finance website compared the 50 states and District of Columbia with 22 key indicators. Some of the indicators included the state's share of STEM professionals, share of science and engineering and related fields, scientific-knowledge output, AP exam participation, share of opening and closing businesses and invention patents per capita.

West Virginia ranked 48th in lowest share of STEM professionals, 47th in lowest projected STEM job demand by 2020 and 48th in lowest research and development spending per capita. The state was also 51st in both lowest venture-capital funding per capita and lowest share of technology companies. Ranked at the top overall is Massachusetts. Louisiana is 50th, and Mississippi is 51st.

Ohio ranked 33rd overall, and Kentucky ranked 45th in the study.

West Virginia is a state that has long-held to extractables like coal and gas to drive the economy.

Joseph Von Nessen, research economist in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, said the best action policymakers could take is to encourage and maintain direct connection points between employers and those looking for work.

"Those connection points, such as technical college system or an apprenticeship program, should have a working knowledge of current and projected labor needs of employers in the local region, and would ideally be able to facilitate the training and matching of potential employees to firms that are hiring," he told WalletHub in the study.


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