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Vermont Brain Drain Solution

By John Kleinhans
On April 27, 2012


May is right around the corner. Thousands of students who attend college in Vermont will be graduating. Many are excited for the journey ahead, while others are nervous because of the uncertainty of the job market. But one thing is for sure, Vermont has a growing brain drain that is causing our graduates to move out of state and begin their careers elsewhere. The biggest gap of students who do not decide to stay and work in their community is right here, in the Northeast Kingdom.


     First you have to consider the lack of a prosperous economy in the NEK. Taxes that are continually being increased from our legislators in Montpelier cripple any small business owners' hope to hire students at their firm or company. The job creators in our area get absolutely no help from the state in encouraging students like you and me to stay


and raise a family in the Northeast Kingdom. This mentality needs to change.


     This limits opportunities for our students. If the employers are not hiring, then where do the educated students go to work? Most students head home to other locations in Vermont or their home state and then take flight and leave. Vermont has one of the oldest populations in the nation, and with a stalled economy, students aren't posting up shop in the Northeast Kingdom.


     I believe that there is a real opportunity for a connection between the college and our surrounding community. Take for example the Leahy Center for Rural Studies and the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, two fine organizations that connect their staff members to our outside community. They are working hard to connect our intelligent and hard working students to the people of Lyndon and the Northeast Kingdom.  I hope that we continue and expand upon the suc


cesses that they have demonstrated so far.


     Our average family median income is $30,000 a year here in Caledonia County. Families worry whether or not they can pay for their heating oil for this upcoming year. We, as young people, have an opportunity to change the direction our area is going by imploring a new industry throughout the NEK. This I believe is the development of a tech industry throughout our region which could serve not only Vermont, New England but the rest of the country and internationally. We as young people understand the impact of social media, marketing, and creating tools that make our lives easier.


     We need students and professionals to be willing to take a chance in order to save the economy here in the NEK. Without bold and creative ideas, we will never flourish to our true potential. When considering what you want to do post grad, why not be a leader and create your idea. The traditional way is over; it's up to you to determine your own future. 

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