BetaBoston

How can Greater Boston keep its best and brightest? Put them to work

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A report from Northeastern’s World Class Cities Partnership (WCCP) has the Boston and Cambridge city councils coming together to keep top students here, but the focus is not on a late running MBTA, happy hours, or even cheaper housing: It’s on putting that talent to work.

Mike Lake and Dan Spiess, executive director and research director, respectively, for WCCP, summarize the discussions and their findings over on Global Business Hub, but it boils down to this:

Nobody, or at least not many people, leave town because of their daily #MBTAannoyand other commonly heard gripes. The people complaining about these things are by definition the ones who have stayed.

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What really keeps people — or draws them away — is more fundamental, particularly in the critical first seven years out of college. Can they find suitable work?

“First, we need to take the spotlight away from housing affordability and shine it on jobs, student integration, and lifestyle,” the researchers wrote. “Greater Boston loses a majority of its talent to New York City and the San Francisco Bay area, the two highest priced housing markets and cost of living ratios in the nation.”

Later on, aspects like school systems, tax rates, and, yes, public transportation come into play, but by then, many people have either moved or settled in for the long haul.

“If we can’t keep young talent within the first 7 years of graduation (the time when most young talent moves), we have a smaller pool to work with later on issues related to housing and schools,” the pair concluded.

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