But a new trend is taking place at the start of the second decade of the 21st century. Many young professionals are deciding to make a difference in their community, and with it, enhancing the long-term growth and prosperity of El Paso."You see it in the young people moving back here for the kind of jobs El Paso has never had before or who come back to start businesses or families or projects," city Rep. Beto O'Rourke said. "You see it in someone like Jim Ward of Sleepercar, who because of his talent and standing in his industry, could live and work in any city in the world and yet chooses to make El Paso his home."Mayor John Cook sometimes looks at the city representatives and thinks to himself, "I have a grandchild almost your age."Cook, whose granddaughter is 27, realizes how important tomorrow's young leaders are to El Paso."New ideas are extremely important, especially those from young people who have gone off to college, lived in other communities, lived in other exciting cities and then come back wanting to make their city a better place, wanting to make a difference in their community," he said. "You will see more innovative young people coming back and saying, 'I didn't just get smart in college, I got ideas and I'm going to come back home and make my city a better place and make a difference."
Plugging the brain drain, keeping talent from leaving, is bad policy. Even if effective, the region will lack a fresh perspective needed to reinvent the economy. Deeply rooted natives aren't going to be agents of change.
Ohio workforce development initiatives make this mistake. Too much attention is given to local graduates moving out of state. Take the money that has been earmarked to slow the exodus of talent and apply it to luring the best and brightest back to Northeast Ohio. Why doesn't Joe Schiavoni fund what Tyler Clark is doing, instead of incentivizing graduates to stay? Why not facilitate another Eric Planey returning to the Mahoning Valley? I can tell you that all the brain drain initiatives being tried now have been tried before, and failed. Time to explore some different options.