Hipsters Can Solve the Midwest’s Unrest
December 5, 2016
In a recent report, it was shown that college graduates are leaving many states in record numbers in favor of more heavily populated areas on the coast. This has caused a lot of economic anxiety in those states as their educated workforce has fled from them. And while this is a worrisome issue, forcing those students to stay cannot be the solution. Instead, these states with dwindling college educated workers should be incentivizing people to come to them through innovative methods.
What remains unequivocally true is that these states need to start diversifying their job market to accommodate more of these workers. Expanding burgeoning industries can help these states to become epicenters of new jobs in emerging markets. However, this cannot be their only step. While offering these jobs may lessen the deficit, another large part of the reason these people have left is because of the cities and areas themselves. California, a state that young college graduates have flocked to, is also pouring over with culture. Los Angeles as well as San Francisco are vibrant, soulful and exciting cities that offer far more than the Midwest. When given the option to live in a city with six professional sports teams, world class art museums, gorgeous beaches and the most eclectic mix of food in the world or a town with none of that, there is a clear answer about which to choose.
These states must open themselves up to more of the cultures and lifestyles that have enriched these more populated areas. While they cannot necessarily give themselves boardwalks on the beach or Golden Gate Bridges, they can help foster their cities to celebrate new music and art. Building a metropolitan identity that helps to accentuate the charms of the Midwest can create a unique place to live that attracts these young college graduates once again. There is an absolute abundance of natural beauty in many of these states that is not available in the regions which they have been left for. It is time to promote this alongside their more accessible assets for college graduates that makes them places to be.
There is more that the cities and towns where graduates are fleeing from have to offer. If they can learn to play on their natural advantage, there is no reason why South Dakota could not be an epicenter of American culture like any other place. So, instead of simply bemoaning the drainage of young talent and worrying about economic futures, perhaps with revitalizing the culture and identity of these regions there lies a solution which will incentivize college educated workers for generations to come. Or maybe, Disneyland and the San Francisco Giants are just too big of obstacles to overcome.
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A version of this article appeared in the Monday, December 5th print edition. Email Thomas Price at [email protected]