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

WCCP 2013 Chatham Forum featured big ideas and announcements

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By Mike Lake & Dan Spiess | Boston.com | January 29, 2013

While New England froze over the weekend in some of the coldest temperatures of the year, a group of Massachusetts leaders were fired up with ideas for making the local economy stronger, more innovative, and inclusive.

The World Class Cities Partnership (WCCP) hosted its annual Chatham Forum to make some big announcements and to highlight lessons learned from the group’s October Policy Exchange Mission to Lisbon and the Azores, Portugal: a Mission so successful and bonding that the Vice Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Lisbon joined the Chatham group for the weekend, following their time in Boston and Cambridge as the first participants in the WCCP’s Municipal Leadership Exchange Program.

The Chatham Forum began with an overview of the key takeaways from the October Mission to Portugal, including solutions to such urban challenges as eliminating high school dropout rates, promoting the innovative city, incentivizing the private sector to achieve public sector priorities and increasing citizen engagement. Read More

Experiential learning, seven cities at a time

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By | news@Northeastern | May 30, 2012

In March, Fran­cisco Torres, MURP ’12, con­ducted research at the Carmel Aca­d­emic Center in Haifa, Israel, to find out whether the uni­ver­sity is suc­ceeding in helping the city attract — and retain — top young talent.

He gath­ered data by inter­viewing the campus project man­ager, a city sta­tis­ti­cian and the director of a young adult center that helps stu­dents find jobs.

The experiential-​​learning oppor­tu­nity was part of a two-​​semester graduate-​​level cap­stone course in urban and regional policy. Each stu­dent in the class was tasked with deter­mining whether spe­cific ini­tia­tives in par­tic­ular cities throughout the world were suc­ceeding in pro­moting talent reten­tion and job cre­ation by reviewing poli­cies, ana­lyzing lit­er­a­ture and con­ducting inter­views with stake­holders in each location.

At the end of the semester, each stu­dent wrote — and pre­sented — a case study on his or her respec­tive city.

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Future Boston Alliance and the Business of Hipness

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By Michael Lake and Daniel Spiess, World Class Cities Partnership

Boston’s high ranking as a global innovation city and, according to one recent report, reputation as the 10th most competitive city in the world would be the pride of mayors everywhere, but Boston continues to experience its “brain drain.” Northeastern University’s World Class Cities Partnership, whose global research has focused on talent attraction and retention issues, recently hosted the pre-launch of Boston’s foremost advocate for hipness – the Future Boston Alliance (FBA). Founded by Greg Selkoe, a locally-based streetwear retailer, Selkoe and FBA director Malia Lazu described the Alliance as an opportunity for Boston and Massachusetts to seek input and guidance from an untapped core of new leaders and entrepreneurs in order for our region to compete in the 21st century. Selkoe and Lazu noted that not only does Boston need to compete in education and technology, in which it already performs quite well, but it also needs to compete in the ‘hip’ factor as featured by Michael Farrell in his recent Boston Globe article “E-retailer Hopes to Boost Hub’s Hip Factor.”

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