The real reasons young people leave Massachusetts

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By Mike Lake and Dan Spiess | Boston.com | April 1, 2013

It is time to change the discourse around talent retention in Greater Boston.

Last Thursday’s second-ever joint city council hearing, hosted by Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson and Cambridge City Councillor Leland Cheung, in partnership with the World Class Cities Partnership (WCCP), highlighted the concern of talent loss to many in the Boston area. The discourse on this topic is not new to local leaders and the same lamentations about why young talent leaves – apartments are too expensive, the T doesn’t run all night, the bar scene is boring – keep getting shared across forum discussions, newspaper editorials, and election campaigns. But these are more the complaints of the people who stay, rather than the reasons for why others leave.

Greater Boston has never had a problem attracting talent. The region’s 76 colleges and universities and almost 350,000 students virtually guarantee a steady stream of knowledge-workers-in-training. Our bigger challenge is keeping this young, educated population from leaving Massachusetts once they’ve crossed the stage and received their diplomas. Data presented from WCCP’s new Talent Magnets report show that too often we lump together all of these various reasons that push people out of the Commonwealth without regard for importance, timing, or life needs. We give each reason equal weight, which diminishes the effectiveness of our response. By breaking down talent needs into life stages, policy makers can better prioritize talent retention strategies. Read More

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