With the release of our new résumé data this year, we’ve seen cool new ways to put it to work. Thanks to this valuable intel on the locations, occupations, and employers of alumni from virtually any post-secondary institution in America, we’ve been able to answer, in unprecedented ways, critical questions about labor market outcomes and student migration. Colleges and universities can move mountains with this data. (Montgomery College has already begun.) But more recently, we worked with The Wall Street Journal to apply our data to another big issue: brain drain.
In June, WSJ published an article featuring our résumé analysis that illustrates how new talent generated in the fly-over states tends to leak to those states with more urban and economic hubs. No surprises there. As freshly graduated jobseekers hit the road after college, businesses back home struggle to attract young workers, and states wrestle with an unbalanced division of educated talent between urban and rural areas.
It’s a tough subject. We’re pleased to see that résumé data can shed light on the problem of brain drain, but it got us thinking, can we also use it to inform a solution? Here are just a few initial thoughts on the ways that résumé data (plus our historic labor market data) might help smaller economies counteract the talent leak.
Reality Check: Where’s Everybody Going?
Communities can use résumé data to discover where their students are going, both for school and after school. Where did they study? Where did they scatter? Which graduates, if any, returned home? Are they seeking local employment?
Labor market data can help communities identify the career opportunities that justify staying in the area. What industries are growing? Where are the region’s compelling careers? What businesses have the most open positions? What do the jobs pay?
Telling the Community’s Story
While Iowa’s tiny Mahaska County may never boast as many opportunities as Chicago, its businesses can make sure college-bound residents know about the opportunities they do offer—including affordability. Yes, small-town regions across America may be losing their talent to the big city, but a number of those big cities are also shedding population due to the stratospheric cost of living. Rural communities can encourage a reverse exodus by marketing cheaper prices and demonstrating lucrative, engaging careers to newly minted graduates, and thus overcome these young peoples’ easy assumption that in order to make it, they must seek jobs elsewhere.
Building Programs That Matter
Community colleges and workforce professionals can offer certificates and degree programs (adding new ones, if necessary) that help prepare students for in-demand careers locally, thus eliminating a frequent factor in the brain drain fiasco: students obtaining their education away from home. (After all, once you’ve moved away for school, it’s all too easy to stay away for career.) But providing local education is not to tether kids to the front porch. If students in Nowheresville dream of golden opportunities out in the wild blue yonder, this is simply bringing the wild blue yonder home to them.
Does a great future await college graduates even in America’s relatively obscure areas? We believe yes. So let these communities prove it. If you prove it, they will come.
With lots more to be said on this topic, we’re excited to keep digging. Do you have a strategy for addressing brain drain in your community? Let us know. Contact Rob Sentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.