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Slowing Down “brain drain” in Mississippi

May 24th, 2016
Posted: 05/24/2016 1:31 AM

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) – Changing the perception about post-grad opportunities in Mississippi is the goal for folks trying to slow down “brain drain”. The idea is that too many young adults think they have to leave the state to be successful.

There was a brain drain commission created a few years ago. That even led to proposed legislation about post-grad incentives for sticking around in the Magnolia State.

“People can work from anywhere. Being able to tap into that and say hey you can work from anywhere in the world,” noted Dr. Corey Wiggins, Hope Policy Institute Director. “But you can do it here in Mississippi.”

There are more practical challenges at play. Dr. Wiggins said Mississippi’s college debt default rate is higher than the national average.

“When students are finishing they’re really looking for those opportunities that’s going to give them the ability to pay back those loans they incur in college,” added Wiggins.

Groups like Innovate Mississippi think the state has to better promote the existing opportunities and encourage new ones.

“There are jobs out there that are getting filled but on top of that, how do you create your own jobs?” explained Dr. Sumesh Arora, Vice President of Innovate Mississippi.

Arora suggested we think outside the box when it comes to slowing the brain drain.

“We have to start thinking that entrepreneurship is the next wave of workforce development,” said Arora. “So we really have to figure out how do we encourage the students to become entrepreneurs.”

Finding resources for those entrepreneurs is the other key to keeping them here. Innovate Mississippi helps connect them to resources for a startup. Because they have to have the money to get their idea off the ground.

There are some existing programs to keep graduates in the state.They’re centered around certain professions, within the education and medical fields, for example.

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