Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Over the weekend I spent some time with a couple of good friends from undergrad. One is about to graduate with his master's degree from State. While we were discussing where he might work post-graduation, my friend said that he would really like to stay in Michigan, but would likely have to go wherever he could find a job. Many of my friends have expressed similar views. A lot of the well-educated 20-somethings I know, especially those who are Michigan natives, have said essentially this: I would like to stay in Michigan to do my part to help rebuild the state, but in the end, I will have to go wherever I can find a job.

In his article on notable Ann Arbor blogs last December, Ed Vielmetti labeled us Michigoners. As much as it pains me to say it, Ed is probably right. Each Damn Arbor author has his or her own unique half-life. In the end, even those of us with slow decay rates (those of us enrolled in Ph.D programs) will in all likelihood end up with post docs in other states. There are opportunities for young, well-educated people in Michigan. But the opportunities in other states often seem to be much more bountiful.

Tomorrow night, the NPR series "Changing Gears" and U of M's Ross School of Business are hosting a panel discussion entitled “Don’t Go! What Will Keep You Here?” Speakers include Google's Mike Miller, Heart Graffiti's Sara Jones, and Donald Grimes, a University of Michigan economist who has been studying Michigan's student exodus. They will be discussing how to decrease the rate at which Michigan loses students. Hopefully, the efforts of engaged, innovative young people can help keep more college graduates in the state and help build a brighter future of Michigan.

On a positive note, some friends of mine who have left the state in years past have either moved back to Michigan, or are planning on doing so.

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