PROVIDENCE — In looking to plug the incessant drain that happens each spring when newly minted college graduates flee Rhode Island for bigger metropolises, this state might do well to take a lesson from Philadelphia, experts say.
Back in the 1990s, the City of Brotherly Love struggled with that image. Its universities were first rate and attracted students from around the world, but after graduation, the vast majority of those youngsters took flight for places like New York and Chicago.
It wasn’t that anything was wrong with Philadelphia; it just didn’t have enough to keep them there.
“Statistics say the more students you get engaged in internships as early as you can, the higher retention rate you’re going to have because they know the businesses and they get more comfortable with the work environment within that community,” said Richard Bendis, founding president and chief executive officer of Innovation America, a public private partnership that worked on the Philadelphia project.
Providence looks to Philly to stem ‘brain drain’