Monday, November 22, 2010

Paying Lip Service To Talent Attraction

Concerning the war for talent, most states and regions simply don't get it. The game is one of attraction, not retention. But the latter still receives all the resources:

We Live New York is a statewide organization of young leaders that seeks to attract and retain young talent. The group is teaming with the Empire State Development Corp. and the New York State Urban Council to fund a $50,000 grant for young professionals organizations. Each award will be between $500 and $2,000, and will be given to 10 to 15 YP organizations across the state. ...

... We Live New York also seeks to connect young leaders and YP organizations from across the state to share ideas and collaborate on items that help retain young people. ...

... Projects, Cooney said, can be anything from an outdoor concert to enhancing green space in urban areas, so long as it improves the quality of life for young people in New York. "You name it, we can help fund it," he said.

Established leaders realize the value of retaining young talent.

"The energy that's driving revitalization across the country is the young professionals," said Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president of the Rochester Downtown Development Corp. "We think if we can tether these mobile young leaders to tangible city building projects, we stand a much better chance of keeping them in New York state."

There is no mention of funding for initiatives designed to attract young talent, which is the real issue that New York State faces. The taxpayers are throwing money down the brain drain and cities such as Rochester will continue to suffer.

Engineering inmigration is difficult. New York would be better off giving money to experiments that hope to attract out-of-staters to live in urban neighborhoods in need of revitalization. Keeping graduates from moving to NYC doesn't solve anything. It will, however, do considerable harm to the prosperity of those who stay. It also helps to entrench the chronic economic problems plaguing Upstate cities.

The return on investment for We Live New York is negative.

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