Monday, October 24, 2011

Paying Graduates To Stay

Joel Kotkin has a meaty piece about America's demographic advantage. In the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, and even China, only the States can expect a growing labor force over the next few decades. The reason for this demographic dividend? Immigration.

States get younger by attracting a more youthful demographic. Yet the common response is to double down on retention. Some funded schemes in New England:

Massachusetts is funding internships at private companies—$2.2 million this year, up from $1 million last year. In a pilot program started in July, Vermont is forking over cash to graduates who stay in the state.

New Hampshire, under the direction of a young-worker retention task force established by Democratic Gov. John Lynch, has launched a nonprofit called Stay Work Play to sell the state to college students. The state also is directing one-third of its entire marketing budget toward wooing and retaining younger people.

Thanks to Chris Briem (Null Space) for bring the above Wall Street Journal article to my attention. The Vermont initiative is troubling. The bulk of the money will go to graduates who would have stayed regardless. The effectiveness of attracting young talent is much easier to measure. No one can say with any certainty if the Vermont effort was worth it or even if it worked.

I'm in my sixth year of blogging about brain drain. I've looked at policy ideas that preceded Burgh Diaspora. The same approaches get tried over and over again. Each year, the same places complain about brain drain. Nothing seems to be working. Anyone out there other than Cleveland and Youngstown willing to try a new way to solve this problem?

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