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A freshman Representative's bill could fix Michigan's 'Brain Drain'

Michigan House Democrats

 As new grads drift out of Ann Arbor after last weekend's commencement, where will they go?

Degrees in hand, they're on the job search - which doesn't mean they're staying in Michigan.

State Representative Andy Schor, D-Lansing, is the sponsor of House Bill 4182, which would provide tax credits to college graduates of public or private four-year colleges and universities in Michigan.

"The research shows that students graduate and look for where they want to live, and then look for a job there. I think that many graduates want to stay [in Michigan] because they grew up here and have roots here but they don't find the places they want to be," Schor said.

Nearly one-third of graduates that have job offers in Michigan go somewhere else because they don't want to live in Michigan, Schor said.

House Bill 4182 is a temporary fix to what Schor said is a larger problem.

"Research also says that when you have a talented workforce, that's where businesses want to expand. So, when you get people who want to stay in Lansing and find a job there because Lansing is where they want to be, the businesses expand there."

Lansing recently saw a huge increase of IT, healthcare, and other growth sector jobs. Additionally, Jackson National, an insurance company, announced 100 new jobs and a one-million-dollar investment in Lansing because they see it as a place where graduates and talent want to be, Schor added.

Last Wednesday was the first committee hearing for the bill, which has received bipartisan support. Committee members heard testimonials from Schor as well as college students who discussed factors that influence where they want to go after they graduate.

Having destination cities in Michigan where recent grads want to go is a long term goal, that Schor said may take a long time to achieve.

But that doesn't mean that a shorter term fix like Schor's "Brain Drain" bill won't have positive results. In 2007, Maine passed a bill called Opportunity Maine that offered similar incentives to recent graduates.

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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