Sunday, October 21

Tactics to stem a country's internal brain drain that don't depend on federal programs

Below are my notes on Joshua Johnson's "1A" radio show on WAMU, "Why some [US] states are experiencing a labor shortage," broadcast on October 18, 2018. The parts of the conversation I'm referencing start shortly after the 30 minute mark on the tape; listen for more details about the tactics under discussion. 

The first part of the show deals specifically with America's critical shortage in skilled tradespeople; e.g., electricians, welders, plumbers, etc. One listener to the show remarked, correctly, that for a half century American educators turned up their noses at teaching trades. 

Today, those trades can pay six figures in income -- while many American 'white collar' college grads are driving taxis and serving coffee when they can get work. The segment also discusses how Americans can learn skilled trades. 

The second segment discusses America's internal brain drain, where jobs in big cities are emptying small towns across the country and in U.S. states with a large rural population.           

  • Cities, states, and counties taking matters into their own hands.
  • A city in Nebraska  will match signing bonuses up to 5K for people who will work there.
  • State of Vermont pays people 10K to move to Vermont and work remotely if they have a job in a nearby state.
  • St. Clair County in Michigan, about an hour outside the big city of Detroit. The "Come Home Award Program." Launched in 2016, will pay a student's debt if a student completes a college degree and returns to the county to work. Many American college graduates are carrying 80K debts in student loans. 
  • Reasoning behind St. Clair's award program: "We stopped waiting for Washington or Lansing [seat of Michigan's government] to save us with a plan."

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