The Impact of NJ's Millenial Outmigration on Business

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Michele Siekerka, President of New Jersey Business and Industry Association, to discuss the impact of millennial outmigration in New Jersey and the importance of institutions of higher learning working harder to keep homegrown talent in the Garden State.

8/13/18 #2157






"She's back. Our good friend Michele Siekerka, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Business and Industry Association. How you doing my friend? I'm doing great. Every time you're with us we talk about one aspect or another of business life in New Jersey, but in this particular discussion, I want to focus on a summit that took place. It was a workforce summit? Yes. When was it? Well actually, the summit was last year, but the result of the summit was a task force report on post-secondary education and the focus of - how do we make New Jersey attractive and affordable for Millennials? That is this report, The Education Equation: Strategies for Retaining and Attracting New Jersey's Future Workforce. Michele, what is the problem? Well, the problem is we're number one in the nation for Millennial outmigration. 18 to 34 year olds. Number one in the nation now. Stop and think about that. That's our future workforce. Wow. So, then we step back. So, we have identified that a few years ago, as an issue. So we say, "Alright, what are we gonna do about that?" And when we did our homework, as we always do at NJBIA, you know, we learned that the attractability and affordability of post-secondary education is an issue that needs to be addressed in the state of New Jersey. When I talk about post-secondary, I'm talking about after high school. Because we're also number one in the nation for exporting high school graduates. Meaning they're not going on to four-year traditional education in the state of New Jersey. Okay? So we have to ask, "Why?" And then our study leads us to the why is, number one, attractability. We don't do enough to attract our own students to stay, when actually we have a pretty good brand for higher ed in the state of New Jersey. We just don't market it that way. And number two, affordability. We're the fourth most expensive for four-year education, post-secondary in the nation. So, back up for a second... Yeah. When we lose someone who graduates from a New Jersey institution of higher learning, some people call it the, quote unquote, "brain drain"? Yeah. What do we lose? Well, let's start with what happens when we lose the high school grad who doesn't stay here for post-secondary. Think for a moment, number one property taxes in the nation to fund K-12 education. And then we're... Hold on, wait a minute. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I'm talking about people who... I was talking about New Jersey college students who leave after college. Okay. You're talking about... Oh, I'm taking it back a step, Steve. Woah..."