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Working Workforce Development: Retaining and training college-age cohort in a suburban setting


Typically workforce development strategies are; rightfully so, targeted at lower income and working class groups.

Our city is comparatively suburban, high socioeconomic status and largely college-educated or higher. That being said, demographically there is a gap in what I would consider college-aged and young professional adults. Because both high-schools are rated high, we have a high number of kids up until about 19. There is a large gap from about 21-25 and then it begins trending slightly higher at about 25-29, up to the Boomer range.

As typical for a suburban setting, you aren't really interested in paying higher taxes and home prices for a school system you aren't using yet. I realize affordable housing would have to be a component of any comprehensive effort to attract and retain young 20 somethings. That being said, we do have a nearby University that's probably a maximum of 15-minutes from anywhere within our city. The University's niche is educating people in the predominant local industry.

To me, it seems like what should happen is creating a bigger pipeline from our high schools to our local university such that those students would increasingly choose to stay at home through college or ideally, rent or buy in the city.

Because of the strain on our local school system, our council is averse to more multifamily developments. However, I would imagine that if it were a University specific development such as off-campus apartments, that could be a different narrative.

Any thoughts, is it a waste of time to try and target broke college kids?