Putting a stop to 'brain drain'

According to Census data, 22 percent of all New Yorkers between the ages of 20 and 34 moved out of the state between 1990 and 2000. Many young families and recent college graduates often face having to choose between leaving the state to pursue careers or staying in their hometowns and dealing with problems like high property taxes, high cost of living and lack of affordable housing.

Like many at the table, Ben Walsh, 29, is a young professional in Central New York. As the Director of Urban Initiatives for the CNY Metropolitan Development Agency, Walsh said internships are a direct way to connect college students with employers.

According to Walsh, the state has been helpful in setting up internship programs such as the 'I Live New York' initiative spearheaded by Silda Spitzer.

"One of the components she was pushing for was a statewide internship database," Walsh said.

Paul Roodin, director of experience-based education and professor of psychology at SUNY Oswego, agreed that internships are "a wonderful source for students" and that when they are matched with an internship it increases the students' marketability and can be listed on their professional resume.

"My perception of Central New York is students want to stay in Central New York," said Pamela Cox, associate dean of the school of business at SUNY Oswego. "The students say, 'We tried. We can't find anything. We're moving on.'"

According to Cox, there needs to be a creation of culture for young professionals that they might be exposed to early on.

"It's not festivals that we need," said Hanah Ehrenreich, project coordinator with CNY Works. "The 20 to 34 demographic, they want nightlife, nice communities, vibrant communities."

While jobs are important, people will seek out jobs if they see a community that is vibrant, Ehrenreich added.

Walsh said he recently purchased his first home in Central New York, and with that purchase came the first time he thought about property taxes.

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