We got a chance to sit down with Jake Krack at the Civic Life Institute, and talked about entrepreneurship and renewing old trades, as a key to holding onto our youth and renewing our communities. Jake's own story (quoted below) is a testament to his thoughts. 

"I learned the fiddle from a man Melvin Wine for almost 10 years - he was 86 when we started studying together, and I was 12. 

My appreciation for all I've learned about music has given me an appreciation for the knowledge of older generations. But it's about more than the music. The crafts and the trades and the way to do them are slipping way. 

What's next for West Virginia? Encouraging young adults to learn trades and become entrepreneurs. You don't just have to go to college. A lot of the small towns in WV don't even have jobs for college graduates. If you want to live where you grew up, going and getting a college education, and spending all that money and acquiring all that debt - there's no way to return home. By becoming an entrepreneur you're bettering your community, you're bettering yourself, and you even have the knowledge and experience of a college education. 

The young people are leaving our small towns. Carpentry, metal-smithing, stone cutting - if we can pass on the trades once more, that means we won't just keep the trades alive, we can keep our communities alive. 

If every town had tradesmen, that money would stay in our communities. If we could look within the city limits of our small towns with everything we need, we would see our small towns become vibrant communities again."