Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Brain Drain

There is a term floating around called “The Brain Drain.” It refers to young educated people leaving Fort Wayne. I hear some city council members are presenting funds to young people to pay for college if they agree to stay in the area. Is the brain drain real or do we have brain dead politicians?

Carroll High School has over 80% of graduates going on to higher education. Homestead High School is slightly higher. New Haven as well as the other area high schools have high rates of continuing education. Indiana - Purdue University has over 14,000 students. Ivy Tech has thousands as well. St Francis, ITT and Taylor Universities have thousands more. Together these local higher educational schools educate and train our children as well as thousands from outside Fort Wayne.

I know that the number of positions that require a college degree is about 20% of all positions available. This means that when our area schools have a higher than 20% continuing higher education and graduation success rate, that we exceed the ability of our local employers to create positions for all of them. Harrison Square is supposed to entice visitors from outside our local area and bring them here to Fort Wayne to spend money. What happens if they instead decide to move here? Do they take a job away from our young graduating adults?

Our higher educational institutions attract students from a wide area. The students that come here bring money to spend and pay for the educators and administrators. Our higher educational institutions are no different than GM where their product are trucks to ship outside the area, but where the educational institutions are to ship out educated individuals. If we were to have enough employment growth to absorb all graduates from these higher educated institutions, we would need job creation in the tens of thousands each year.

I was educated in Fort Wayne as well as my wife, brother and sister. We all left Fort Wayne and have since returned not with just ourselves, but our families. We bring a diverse work experience back to Fort Wayne. If Fort Wayne truly had a brain drain, then the city of Fort Wayne would be shrinking in population, not growing, graduation rates would be lower and our higher educational facilities would have decreasing enrollment.

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