Thursday, April 09, 2009

Northeast Ohio Talent Pipeline

According to Rick Batyko of Cleveland Plus, Northeast Ohio (NEO) retains over 79% of its graduates from public universities. Ohio does almost as well keeping 76%. Compared to Michigan, Ohio isn't suffering from brain drain. Then why do regional boosters keep saying otherwise?

Investing in our young people, those who are from Northeast Ohio as well as those who attend college in Northeast Ohio, is particularly important to our region. We have all heard about the “quiet crisis” and “brain drain” with regard to Northeast Ohio. Having the prospect of a good job in Northeast Ohio will keep our students here, and will ultimately make our region more vibrant and economically strong.

The above comment is indicative of the prevalent labor market protectionism that typically drives workforce development policy. This perspective is no different than the current mood swing against hiring foreign-born talent over the domestic alternative. Keeping students in the area, something NEO already does well, is a bad practice (captive labor scenario) servicing an outdated economy. In fact, actively seeking outsiders has a number of economic benefits.

A sure way to dampen regional entrepreneurial activity is to incentivize the decreasing geographic mobility of talent. Ironically, JumpStart is attempting to accomplish this feat. The most vital talent pipeline is the one from out-of-state or even out-of-country. But the parochial mindset seems unable to grasp this opportunity.


Lou said...

But, With our Blue collar background, how many of our Young people seek out college in the first place? Here in Mahoning county, It's less than 30%. How many of these young adults leave the area to seek employment in the new South? And how many of them, once they leave, decide they really do need an education?

Jim Russell said...

People with less than a college degree don't travel as far. What gutted urban Mahoning County was/is the pull of the suburbs. Not surprisingly, other big destinations are Pittsburgh and Cleveland. But those who relocated to the New South, Chicago and even NYC were the best and brightest ... the job creators.

What that means is that as Mahoning County does a better job of educating its residents, more people will leave. That's the first step to getting where Pittsburgh is today.