Worcester’s ambition to retain brain gain

Assumption College Undergraduate

Ranked among the top 10 cities for job gains and “brain gain”, Worcester is home to over a dozen colleges and universities, including Assumption College. With thousands of graduates ready to enter the job market each year, the city’s ambitious desire to retain as many graduates as possible has led to ongoing development initiatives.

Earlier this month, the Worcester Business Journal conducted an online poll asking readers, “What would be the single biggest thing Worcester could do to keep more recent college graduates here?” Respondents encouraged the city to “deliver on plans to boost downtown activity and housing” and “facilitate more internships with area businesses.”

This snapshot comes as no surprise, considering the release of a new report by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau titled “Central Massachusetts Talent Retention Project: A Survey of the Class of 2014.” The report surveyed graduating students at nine local area colleges and universities and found that a gap persists between the high number of graduates and available career opportunities.

Part of the issue concerned with employment can be attributed to an information gap between employers and local graduates. Academic institutions like Assumption College who link students to local employers through internships, prove that connecting supply with demand can help the city get closer to employment equilibrium.

Where students intern may be as important as what they do there. For example, Assumption students pursuing degrees in business have interned at City of Worcester, Office of Economic Development. One of the Office’s priorities is to market Worcester’s assets to the region and promote the city’s strengths — an initiative that could directly impact the information gap between students and local employers. Such internship opportunities may yield deeper engagement between local businesses and the student body, helping the city retain college graduates.

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