Michissippi: State's Young College Graduate Demographic Dwindles

July 02, 2013, 5:31 PM

For Michigan to survive and thrive, it most attract and retain young, college-educated professionals. Everyone says so.

  • Here's Free Press Business Editor Tom Walsh in May, reporting from the Mackinac Policy Conference: "That was the clear message at the Mackinac Policy Conference Wednesday from three automotive executives, who said the industry faces a daunting challenge in making the industry attractive to investors and young talent in the future."

  • Here's Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje: “One of the gaps weʼve had in Ann Arbor for years and years is we have University of Michigan students who are here but then leave town and then we have people 40 and over raising families. But we need to attract young families and people who are starting their careers here in town.”
  • Here's then-Governor Jennifer Granholm's spokesperson Genna Gent in 2003: "For Michigan, we see it as critical that we are seen as a place where young entrepreneurs, young workers, and young families want to settle and open a business and create new jobs."
  • Here's Governor Rick Snyder: "At the core of Michigan’s reinvention must be a commitment to ensuring that future generations have career opportunities in our state. In order for our children to stay and thrive in Michigan, we have to provide great educational opportunities, a quality of life that is second to none, and meaningful career options."
  • Here's "social entrepreneur" Tierra Filhiol, talking about a recent Business Leaders of Michigan meeting:  "We heard calls to action from industry leaders like Peter Anastor, Senior Policy Director of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Jay Baron, Chairman, President & CEO for the Center for Automotive Research and Sandy Baruah, President & CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. The overwhelming sentiment from all speakers was the need for young talent engagement, retention and attraction. But with one glance around the room and speaker lineup, there was little to no representation of young professionals."

If you're wondering how we're doing with that whole attracting and retaining young talent thing, Filhiol's last sentence offers a clue -- Michigan is terrible at attracting and retaining young talent.

In fact, we're one of just four states with fewer college-educated young professionals than in 2006.

MLive: Michigan was one of four states that had fewer 25-34-year olds with at least a bachelor's degree in 2011 than in 2006. That demographic shrunk by nearly 4 percent during that time, while it grew by 14 percent nationally, said Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future Inc., a nonpartisan think tank. Glazer analyzed the most recent Census Bureau data available.

That trend goes against results from a recent Detroit Regional Chamber study that found 63 percent of "young mobile talent" stayed in Michigan after graduation last year, up from 51 percent in 2007.

Sounds like what we need are more Believers to create some Relentless Positive Cool Cities 2.0.

Read more:  MLive

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