STEM grads need more incentive to stay here

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New research reveals students who earn degrees in education and health-related fields from the state’s public universities are the most likely to stay in Mississippi five years after graduation.

Considering education and health are two of the state’s most critical areas in need of improvement, it’s a win on many levels and encouraging to see young professionals opting to serve Mississippi over seeking opportunities in other states.

Not surprisingly, the research also shows those earning degrees in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) are more likely to leave the state within a year of graduating. You could argue it’s a positive reflection of the quality of the state’s academic institutions that companies outside Mississippi are recruiting our graduates. You could also argue one of the reasons many of these graduates are leaving is due to the lack of opportunities in our state.

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There are no simple answers when it comes to developing more opportunities for these graduates, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone to ignore the issue either.

It’s easy to say, “Grow where you’re planted.”

It takes effort to give our graduates a reason to stay.