Cities as Campus: How Educators and Economic Developers Leverage Location for Talent

The breakout session was packed for this panel featuring an evenly split mix of four professionals from higher education and economic development organizations discussing how to get students off campus and provide them with the resources they need to stay in the city after graduating.

Moderated by Rebecca Gehman of Development Counselors International, the panel featured Jewel Cash, Boston University Summer; Calista Cleary, Tri-College Philly Program; Peter Frosch, GREATER MSP (Minneapolis-Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership); and Evie Poitevent Sanders, Greater New Orleans, Inc.

Key takeaways:

  • The biggest challenge in retaining young talent is connecting young professionals to jobs. Organizations and universities should make it as easy as possible for employers to recruit talent.
  • Offering courses or work-study programs that go into the city can help in breaking the campus “bubble.” Promoting a city’s unique character, making resources available to students (like Campus Philly does, per Calista) and giving students opportunities to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to the workforce are all ways to get students off campus and foster a greater sense of community.
  • Many students do not realize how many different types of jobs exist within an industry. There need to be more paid internships, which attract more diverse talent.