THE CHALLENGE: Keeping Our Graduates Closer to Home

The dearth of graduates from Worcester-based colleges who remain in the area recently served as the main topic of the day for the Worcester Regional Research Bureau at Assumption College.

Hosting a panel discussion entitled, “Degrees of Separation: Retaining College Graduates in Greater Worcester,” the group looked at the results of a survey from graduates of the Class of 2014 that offered discouraging results about keeping graduates in the area.

Just 18 percent of those graduates said they planned to live in Worcester, the second lowest percentage mentioned, coming just ahead of the 15 percent who stated they would reside elsewhere in the region. Central Massachusetts was the choice of 33 percent, while the metro Boston area was the option for 23 percent of the graduates.

Students have negative perceptions toward Worcester with regard to potential job opportunities, along with not seeing it as a somewhere they want to live. Others simply noted an interest in being closer to family and friends, so the panel focused on the first two issues.

The Director of Career Development at Assumption College, Nikki DiOrio, felt that a lack of information about the companies in Greater Worcester might be part of the problem, suggesting that engaging students regarding opportunities as well as offering internships would be a step in the right direction.

Another action taken within the past year has been the work of area schools’ career services professionals. A new committee that was established has made a greater effort to have businesses and students connect with each other.

Another panelist, Assumption graduate Nicholas Guerra, noted how his internship with Rep. James McGovern eventually developed into a full-time job as a McGovern aide. Guerra, who was joined on the panel by UMass Memorial Medical Center CEO Patrick Muldoon, believes that better marketing of the area will contribute to greater success, citing the area’s bustling nightlife.

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