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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Crookston InMotion column: Out-smarting the 'Brain Drain'

  • Attend Community Dialogue March 26 and learn how.
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  • One of the most common concerns of all rural communities is the regular outmigration of young people after leaving high school. Often called “The Brain Drain,” it suggests that our brightest young people leave our small towns to go off to college and never return.
        But while Crookston certainly has had its share of young people leaving, we also have a unique opportunity to recruit a new set of young, skilled workers into our workforce when they graduate college at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The Crookston-in-Motion effort has made working harder to keep more UMC students here for the long run a key part of our overall economic strategy to ensure a vital future.
        Did you know that each year 250-300 UMC students disperse across the country to have an internship experience as part of their program of study? Students in virtually all academic programs engage in these experiences. Students get real world experiences in their professions by working in a real business, organization or governmental entity.
        In Crookston, students have been placed in businesses and organizations as diverse as the Villa St. Vincent to Titan Machinery; but the sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of students engaged in these internships are having these experiences far from here.
        Those of us involved in Crookston-in-Motion want to change that! We believe that if we can integrate UMC students into our community before they graduate, there is a greater likelihood that when they do graduate they will seek to stay right here and keep that talent in Crookston. One of the best ways to do that is to establish more internship opportunities for these college students right here in Crookston. Think of it as turning the “Brain Drain” into the Brain Gain!” It is no secret that progressive communities with more skilled, talented and well educated young people in the work force have a huge advantage in today’s competitive economy.
        Business managers and organizational leaders often are concerned about hosting a student intern for fear that they will slow down production and efficiency. Others have suggested that they are concerned that they may not be a good teacher for the intern. However these concerns are misplaced. In fact, hosting an intern often brings new ideas and energy to a business or organization; and internship supervisors realize that supervising a student intern is no different than bringing any new entry-level employee into your organization. As a result, it is quite common for businesses to host a new student intern every year; and some even establish formal internship programs. After all, it’s good for the business; good for the student; and good for community.
        To that end, on Tuesday March 26 at 11:30 a.m., UMC is hosting a Community Dialogue and luncheon to share information about Service Learning and internships. If you are at all curious about how you may be able to host a UMC student intern at your business, non-profit organization or governmental entity, we encourage you to attend. But to ensure that the proper amount of food is provided, please RSVP your attendance to Lisa Loegering at 281-8526 or email her at loege005@umn.edu. Let’s work together to build a dynamic community and a dynamic workforce!

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