Saturday, October 28, 2023

Discussion time: Encouraging young people to stay

discussion post

Saw this program being tried in Vermont and wondered if it’s something we should do in the Adirondacks?

“Vermont has joined the growing list of states hoping to retain young people by paying their student loans. The program, launched this year, will give recent graduates of Vermont colleges up to $5,000 if they stay and work in the state for two years. Lawmakers hope the initiative will keep more young people in Vermont. From The Hechinger Report in Vermont Public, Liam Elder-Connors reports.”

Share your thoughts below!

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Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor with the Burlington Free Press, Ithaca Journal and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She worked as a communications specialist for the Adirondack North Country Association and is currently digital editor for Adirondack Explorer, overseeing both the Explorer's website and its community forum the Adirondack Almanack. She enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.

10 Responses

  1. Scott Ireland says:

    We need something…that wouldn’t hurt, but we need a wider array of jobs, broadband infrastructure and affordable housing to be built to help keep them here, too.

  2. Phil Fitzpatrick says:

    I look forward to following this discussion.

  3. Joan Grabe says:

    Absolutely, Scott, and every non profit I know is working on all or part of those solutions. The Adirondack Foundation has decided to address housing, job creation, educational pathways and child care as a total problem since they are so interdependent. We need all hands on deck for this one.

  4. Lee Nellis says:

    So,I knew this sociology professor who was hired by a state agency (out West) to prove that the kids in a particular rural area really wanted to stay if only there were good jobs. After some time, I asked him when the results would be published. But they never were in any place the public would see. And that is because the vast majority of the high school students he talked to said they wanted out, and out as fast as possible.

    Which is exactly what I said (and others I know said) about our rural home towns. I still reflexively use the word “escape” when I describe my leaving that “same small town in all of us (thanks to Don Henley for that line).” Young people need to explore, and those who are most capable of making a contribution, are almost always the ones who need to explore most.

    I have been listening to this formulation for an entire lifetime of working with rural communities and people need to just get over it. Forget individual incentives and, as Joan Grabe says, work on the infrastructure that will attract people. If you get someone to return, fine. If you attract someone who grew up far away, that may be better. They are making your place a truly conscious choice.

    The issue/problem is larger than infrastructure though. It is also, and IMO more so, attitudinal. My home town could have offered me a big check and I still wouldn’t have given it a minutes’ thought for two reasons.

    First, where I grew up is 98% private land. There is no room to roam. Peope in the ADK need to get ddwn on their knees to be thankful about having room to roam on a regular basis.

    Second, Wwat a place has to offer, most of all, is open minds. I am a straight, white male who is good at blending in (on the surface at least) anywhere, but I am not going to choose to live in any community that doesn’t proactively welcome and support everybody.

  5. Rob says:

    I want to make sure I understand this right. So we are going to tax the citizens of NY and we are going to take that money and pay off loans for kids to stay and work in the state?? Not for it if is going to be paid by the taxpayers

  6. ADKresident says:

    I agree with Lee. I had met several people in my career path that were raised in upstate NY and their main reason for leaving had nothing to do with economics as much as wanting to ‘explore’ the world, try city life- basically, leave the rural life altogether, even if only to return later. It is healthy for young adults to leave their environment, cut the apron strings, meet new people and venture into new experiences. If you just think back when you were 20, who didn’t want to get out and test the waters, try new things, and ‘leave home’ and take some risks!! Job security was the last think on your mind, or at least mine and my friends. Times certainly have changed and not all for good. Unfortunately, (generally speaking) we now live in an entitled culture where having your bills paid off is expected, there’s a lack of pressing through hardships/adversity and naturally stepping into adulthood. Reaping the consequences for immature, ignorant or wrong choices in order to grow in character and wisdom is an exception, not the norm. (one being, signing a loan)

    My other grievance towards this would be, what about the young adults who learn a trade, or start their own business and have to invest in their own tools, vehicle, equipment, etc.? Would they also get the $$ benefit? Why are the only ones being considered those who choose college and have made the conscious choice to sign a loan that they agree to pay off ? IF people are really serious about giving a monetary benefit to young adults in order to stay, EVERY young adult should be given the opportunity to receive the benefit as an investment towards the future.
    College kids should not have priority over those who choose a valiant trade or another line of employment. After all, how often do you need a gender studies major in the North Country when your heater breaks down or pipe freezes & bursts? I am not against it, but only if the program was a “one benefit for all or all get none” with certain qualifications.

    Lastly, it seems to me, (I could be wrong) that people want the benefits of a thriving economic system while at the same time wanting to minimalize the building of structures that are needed in order to not only have that but maintain it. Not everyone works from home while their employer is in a city or elsewhere. We want to preserve the ‘rural lifestyle’ of a wilderness environment yet have all the benefits of suburban/city life? How would that work? I fully understand the desire, but not the practicality of it.

  7. Boreas says:

    In the Natural world, the young of any species typically disperses. Dispersion minimizes overcrowding, fills vacant territories, and reduces inbreeding. I think it is totally natural for OUR young to want to move away if they grew up here. We need to be thinking of ways to attract young people from other areas. For that you need infrastructure – housing, jobs, and a safe, pleasant place to live. Monetary enticement is simply foolish without the infrastructure – which will be a challenge to provide within the Blue Line. The days of the Great Land Rush are over.

  8. louis curth says:

    Discussion: Encouraging young people to stay?

    Maybe a good place to start would be to review the definition of ECOLOGY – “the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.”

    Whether it be young wildlife or young people, nature urges the young to leave the nest on their own journey of life. Many of us could add our own stories of Adirondack comings and goings .

    Often times, nature’s normal hormonal urges have been distorted by the endless manmade wars, poverty, lack of opportunity and other factors which affected our life choices and, sadly, are now fueling the migration of desperate people all around the world.

    Understanding ECOLOGY might put things in perspective. In the meantime, the lyrics of that old World War I vaudeville song may still apply: “How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?”

    It is a World War I song that rose to popularity after the war had ended. The lyrics highlight concern that soldiers would not want to return to their family farms after experiencing the European city life and culture of Paris during World War I. The song features music by Walter Donaldson and words by Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis. It was published in 1919 by Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co in New York.

  9. Dennis Powell says:

    Back in the day, 1973 -1978, I paid for school using teacher scholarships from the state of Va. They were basically grants that were paid back by teaching in state after graduation. A buddy I went to high school with ended up being a doctor in West Virginia because the state paid his way through medical school. This is not a new idea but it is a great way to help students get through school and then help the state or area after they graduate.

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