Making Positive Introductions
Western Mass. is well-known for quality higher education. Which means it should have a leg up in the competition for professional talent.
But that’s not necessarily the case, and talent drain is a real thing, as graduates — especially those who didn’t grow up here and have no roots in the region beyond their college years — procure their degrees and make their way to Boston, New York, or myriad points south and west.
Which is why it’s encouraging to hear about the types of initiatives featured in two of this issue’s articles. On page 53, we learn about an MBA program at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts that takes place partly at the Berkshire Innovation Center, just down Route 7 in Pittsfield. Through that partnership, students are exposed to experts, resources, and growing, innovative companies with which they can collaborate and make connections — potentially long-term connections.
Meanwhile, the story on page 58 details an initiative through which UMass students in the iCons certificate program are matched with area companies through internships that promote mutual growth and, again, connections that may develop roots.
“We are dedicated to supporting next-generation talent … and fostering professional development in our region,” a leader of one of those companies said, and that’s really the best way to think about these partnerships. For Massachusetts to thrive in the coming decades, it needs to attract — and retain — the best next-generation talent, and part of the strategy must include robust professional-development efforts that introduce young people to successful, inspiring companies early.
We’ve mentioned before some of the issues causing the highest outmigration numbers in Massachusetts in decades, from a housing crisis to transportation challenges to high taxes and cost of living. The Bay State needs to address those, of course, but it also needs to give people positive reasons to stay. An innovative economic ecosystem is one of those reasons, and the more young people are exposed to that, on a personal, experiential level, the more they will want to stay here.
And the better the future will look.