Brain Drain: The Missing Link and What’s to Come

Apr 27, 2010

The first-ever Mentor Match Day at Missouri State University was held recently and I had the pleasure of visiting with several students about my career ladder and current job responsibilities.  It was an informal event and I enjoyed participating. After sharing a 15-minute overview of our economic development program, a senior from St. Louis asked the question:

“When I graduate next year, what opportunities are there for me to start my career in Springfield?”

This issue is top of mind right now.  We’re doing business in a new economy, and a new job market. We know that.

So, we’ve hired Market Street Services, Inc. of Atlanta, GA to help us develop new targeted industries which will employ the next generation and, most importantly, strive to reduce the “brain drain” our market has experienced for far too long.

More than 43,000 college students call Springfield “home” and once they’ve lived here a while and get accustomed to the quality of life this region offers, many want to stay. Unfortunately, many are forced to find employment elsewhere, in larger markets, because the Springfield region just doesn’t offer an over abundance of management-level opportunities for recent college graduates.

Our industrial development and back office recruitment efforts have been highly successful over the past two decades. Existing business and industry have expanded and created new job opportunities in this same period. And we celebrate that. But there’s a missing link.

We’ve got to be more effective in reaching out to firms that will employ Springfield’s talented new college graduates. Doing so will go a long way in reducing “brain drain” while increasing per capita income and business investment.

The targeted industry analysis conducted by Market Street Services will provide a clear understanding of the region’s existing strengths and future opportunity areas related to our workforce talent. The results of this analysis will be released at the 7th Annual Economic Outlook Conference on October 28th.

When this is all said and done, we’ll be a lot closer to having an answer to the question.

~ Greg Williams, Senior Vice President, Economic Development

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Springfield Business Development Corporation

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Springfield, Missouri 65806