When recent college graduates leave the state of Michigan, it affects the state’s economy, the president of Michigan Future Inc. said.

Lou Glazer said that states with the highest college attainment rates have the highest (per capita) income.

“Higher income in a community equals a higher portion of people with a four-year degree,” Glazer said.

Michigan Future Inc. is a company out of Ann Arbor, Mich. that focuses on the state economy by attracting, preparing and retaining talent.

Michigan Future Inc. has created maps to analyze where young professionals are living.

“We compared Madison, Chicago and Minneapolis to Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids,” Glazer said. “Michigan’s problem is that we don’t have a prosperous central city.”

The most recent study conducted by Michigan Future Inc. in 2007 surveyed recent college graduates. The results concluded that half of the graduates stayed in Michigan and half left.

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If I had to guess the situation has not improved, Glazer said.

“College graduates are the most mobile group in society and most likely to move from state to state,” Glazer said.

The analysis reveals that young people are highly concentrated in vibrant central cities before they have children. It also found that job opportunity and quality of place motivates where people choose to live.

“Michigan hasn’t done well in either of those,” Glazer said.

Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) focuses on attracting and retaining talent for the state of Michigan. One program called MichAGAIN promotes the slogan: “It’s time to come home to Michigan.”

The organization uses social media to inform the public of the events they hold. These events include career fairs, resume building seminars, and bus and neighborhood tours. Attendees also meet with successful young professionals living in Michigan.

“MichAGAIN targets people that have left Michigan in order to bring them back,” said Amy Cell, senior vice president of talent enhancement for MEDC.

MichAGAIN has had some success with their campaigns to bring people back to Michigan, Cell said. At each event, the organization tries to find at least 10 to 20 individuals who want to move back to the state.

MEDC focuses on retaining college graduates through the LiveWorkDetroit! program. This program features Detroit as an attractive place for college graduates to live and work.

We surveyed a few months later and found that half of those individuals ended up in Detroit, Cell said.

Taylor Dilley graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University before moving to Colorado. Dilley said she has no plans to move back to Michigan especially because her family has since also moved to Colorado. She said she will continue to visit Michigan.

“I decided to attend college in Michigan because I wanted to stay close to family and keep my tuition low,” Dilley said. “After graduation was a great time to make a change and take a chance after being stuck in the same spot for four years.”

Ryan Smelker is currently a student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College also with plans to leave Michigan after graduation. Smelker said he is not planning on settling down in Michigan because of the poor economy and the unpredictable weather. The communities are very poor and cannot offer much to young people, Smelker said.

“Schools are great in Michigan,” Smelker said. But he added: “You hear about the economy being so bad all over the news; nobody wants to live in a state like that.”

Melissa Robbins received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Michigan University in 2010. She was offered a job at Bronson Hospital shortly after graduation, which is one of the reasons she said she currently resides in Kalamazoo.

“There was a huge hiring freeze for nursing at that point. It would have been stupid to leave an expanding organization to try and find a job somewhere else,” Robbins said.

Robbins said she does not like the cold weather in Michigan and would love to move somewhere with warm weather all year. However, she said she loves being close to family and friends.

“We bought a house so that makes it a little more complicated to just pick up and leave in this housing market,” Robbins said.

 

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