Monday, May 14, 2012

Massachusetts Hemorrhaging Talent

You think Chicago is in rough shape? Uncool Boston is doomed. Greg Selkoe, chief executive of Karmaloop, wants make the city hip and plug the state's massive brain drain:

So is Boston in need of a hipness boost? Selkoe said the city has a reputation as “cold and conservative,’’ and if it doesn’t shake that rap it will lose more creative talent to New York and California.

In addition, a more vibrant innovation economy will help keep young companies here and convince college students to stick around after graduation.

Fostering growth of the Massachusetts creative economy is increasingly seen as a valuable way to help the state attract new companies and retain top talent, said F. Javier Torres, senior program officer at the Boston Foundation, a philanthropy that makes more than $80 million in grants every year, including to arts groups

“For generations, we’ve talked about the brain drain from Massachusetts and why students leave,’’ said Torres. Building up the area’s arts and cultural offerings, he said, helps blunt the exodus.

The Boston Foundation and other Massachusetts cultural organizations plan to launch MASSCreative this fall, an advocacy group supporting the state’s creative work force.

Emphasis added. Consultants, start your engines! Annually, $80 million dollars are sloshing around to help solve a problem that doesn't exist. The Boston Foundation doesn't care about benchmarking or data-driven analysis. The proof:

A state ranking conducted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on entrepreneurship, shows Massachusetts pulling away from the pack in measures considered to be predictors of economic performance, called the New Economy Index. The state has occupied the top spot since the list was created in 1999. But in recent years since the health care law's implementation, its lead has grown. Massachusetts tops measures like migration of highly educated workers and the number of fast-growing businesses. 'They've gotten better compared to the nation since they put in their health care law,' says ITIF President Robert Atkinson.

Emphasis added. Wow, that sounds awful. Poor Massachusetts. MASSCreative should fix everything. The initiative is groundbreaking. The Boston Foundation is finally committed to stopping the talent exodus. The city is embracing urban cool. The Red Sox are poised to go on a record-breaking winning streak. Next up, waitstaff are forced to take sarcasm management classes in order to make Boston more welcoming to immigrants.

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