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Can the Hawkeyes & Cyclones be the Key to Ending Brain Drain in Iowa?

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Football fans and non-football fans alike are embracing the annual rivalry that is Cy-Hawk classic. This is the time when the state's two Division 1A teams take on each other for bragging rights as the state's best football team. Its easy to get caught up in the hoopla, the donning of a cardinal red or pitch black shirt to signify your allegiance, the trash talk, or the parties. Even if you are not a football fan, this game can consume a good portion of your attention and disrupt your normal routine.

I always find it entertaining the buildup to the game as both of these institutions have fine football programs, even if they don't always finish with winning seasons. Each university has seen record breaking enrollments in recent years, so its apparent these are great institutions. As a matter of fact ALL of Iowa's colleges and universities from our system of community colleges to our collection of independent private colleges to our regents universities are known for a distinct area where they top the rankings.

 It should come as no surprise that the state of Iowa ranks No. 1 in the Midwest for college student attraction and nationally the state is a Top 5 importer of college students. Thousands of students not born or raised in Iowa seek higher education here each year, creating an actual net brain gain of college students. Additionally, Iowa has a strong brand known for education.

So while the so called brain drain has effected the midwest region hard, our state currently finds itself in a unique situation than its neighbors. We are hemorrhaging young talented people just like our neighboring states, but this happens after college. Iowa is attracting droves of young intelligent minds from the ages of 18 to 21. The state’s cost-of-living, culture of compassion and community and outdoor activities should be advantageous for us, but we lose those young adults after college seeking higher wages and opportunities elsewhere, which leaves a looming workforce shortage that our neighbor states know all to well. 

By employing the techniques that college recruiters use to attract students, to also attract or retain young professionals, We have an excellent opportunity to solve our brain drain challege in Iowa.

Go Hawks, go Clones.

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Even-though I hate the term "brain drain," because it insinuates all the smart YP's leave the state, I enjoyed your piece. I hope college students are looking long and hard at the effects the current financial predicament has had on many of the larger cities when making their decisions after college. If they are truly doing their homework, then they will see all of the accolades Des Moines is receiving as a top city for employment and a balanced economy during tough times. Plus, throw in all of the cultural additions to the city to further illustrate Des Moines as a great place for YP’s

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