Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brain Drain in Michigan

A post about Richard Florida's observations on states with a high percentage of native-born residents sparked a discussion of brain drain in Michigan. As you might expect, the news is not good. Lauren Silverman, writing for a Michigan Radio project, reveals:

Michigan has 15 public universities that serve almost 300,000 students each year. But almost half of these students leave the state after they graduate. That means Michigan has the 8th worst migration rate in the nation. Even South Dakota, Alabama and Idaho do a better job keeping college graduates in their states.

There used to be a steady stream of college graduates flowing in and out of Michigan, but that flow has turned into a sputter that businesses fear will dry up altogether. In 2008, Michigan lost a total of 15,000 students with bachelor’s degrees to other states. And according to Michigan Future, an Ann Arbor based think tank, over half of the college graduates that left the state don’t ever plan to come back.

Silverman quotes Britany Affolter-Caine, the manager of Intern in Michigan, on the severity of the problem: “If you look at the state and the number of students, age 22-29 with a bachelors degree or higher, no other state in the union lost more than Michigan, except for one, and that was Louisiana — that was just after Katrina!” she said.

1 comment:

  1. I'm under the impression that movement of young graduates is very much a lagging indicator regarding economic trends and business activity.

    Theorists say regularly that businesses re-locate or open new operations where ready supplies of the right people are available, but that's false. Businesses locate where their leaders feel like locating, in the expectation that they'll find the right people, and they almost always do. Case in point: Google's growing operations in Ann Arbor.

    So: if the point is to increase the number of business re-locations and new operations in Michigan, it would make no sense to spend energy on trying to convince new grads to stay here. Much better to research business leaders, identify those who like something that Michigan offers, and talk to them about that match.


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