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September 4, 2007

Local college students reflect on brain drain

Students talk about attracting young adults to New York

PLATTSBURGH -- Stopping the "brain drain" from hindering New York's economic development is a long-standing concern for many state leaders.

The loss of college-educated adults to other states -- or the absence of a gain, according to a recent study -- has officials searching for solutions.

If upstate New York were its own state, it would have had the nation's lowest "in-migration" rate from 1995 through 2000, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

But the brain drain, whether it exists or not, very much remains a concern for state leaders. Even as the report was being released, Gov. Eliot Spitzer was in Syracuse talking about a housing project that would help "make ourselves a place where our kids want to stay, and our kids' kids want to stay."

His wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, will host a summit to discuss the brain drain issue on Sept. 18 at SUNY Cortland.

It's not hard for Plattsburgh State graduate student Steve Beaty, who plans a teaching career, to see why many of his colleagues go to other states to launch their teaching careers.

He said graduates with education degrees from New York schools are significantly more likely to find a job in the South than in this state.

"I don't think I want to do that," said the 24-year-old Glens Falls man. "But I can understand people that need money right away."

One of Beaty's friends has been looking for an elementary-education job for two years. He said he has seen that as a problem for friends in other fields as well.

"I know a lot of people my age that have had to move back home because they couldn't find substantial work," Beaty said.

Within the whole statewide issue, is that of the North Country. Some students said they simply don't see the region as a place to work.

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