The Daily Nebraskan
Opinion

It seems many 2018 graduates plan on going out of state after college. Some have aspirations of saving up money and moving to New York to become star editors or writers for a book publishing house. Or, they are flocking to chill artsy vibes and the warm, predictable weather of California and the Silicon Valley. Others feel the urge to go directly west of Nebraska to the adventurous, outdoorsy Colorado. And a few have plans to hang around in Nebraska, trying to find decent, non-entry-level jobs.

This classmate exodus is not just a personal observation, it’s a statewide brain drain. People with higher education levels, specifically young people with recently obtained degrees, are leaving Nebraska at concerning rates. A decade from now, an estimated net of 20,000 people will have emigrated from Nebraska, which is a comparable number to losing most of the undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Members of Lincoln and Omaha business communities are working on ideas for retaining these workers. Apparently, there are not enough high-level jobs available to retain workers with higher levels of education. But, not having workers with higher levels of education hurts the state’s economy. However, Nebraska’s future workforce’s fate is not sealed by this dismal prediction.

Although there are not currently enough high-level positions that meet the qualifications of workers with higher levels of education, Nebraska still has a lot more potential than emigrating graduates seem to be aware of. There are still opportunities and reasons to plant roots in Nebraska after graduation.

The Lincoln economy can offer an exciting alternative career path for young workers, who are fresh out of college, willing to take risks and looking to climb the corporate ladder. Lincoln is one of the best cities in the United States for starting a business, a great option for the adventurous go-getter. Lincoln is gaining international attention for being a prime Silicon Prairie location, and is the home and birthplace of rapidly growing companies such as Hudl and Spreetail. These thriving companies are an example of opportunity offered to entrepreneurs by this growing college town.

So there’s not enough high-level positions? Entrepreneurship allows workers to make their own high-level positions, and with growth, make more of these positions available for the Nebraska workforce. Lincoln is an up-and-coming city, and is ranked as one of the top 10 best downtowns in the U.S. Those work-hard, play-hard types looking for nightlife could not do much better than right here.

Some states may offer more opportunities for traditional jobs, but for recent UNL graduates who plan on settling down soon, Nebraska is actually one of the best options. It has a variety of fun family friendly activities, such as the world’s best zoo. It also offers great education opportunities and nationally ranked high schools. Omaha is one of the top 10 best places to raise a family. Of the 22,000 high schools included on the list, Omaha had two high schools in the top 10 percent. Elkhorn High School, which is right next to Omaha, was in the top 2 percent.

Omaha has nationally ranked hospitals, lower housing costs and a lower cost of living compared to the U.S. average, which means it is more affordable to own a home and has healthcare that is on par with other large cities.

The U.S. News & World Report ranks Nebraska at seventh overall out of all 50 states, and this ranking is based on a long list of factors. At No. 7, Nebraska is higher ranked than California, New York, Oregon and even our neighbor to the west, Colorado.

Nebraska is great. The job market just needs a little TLC. Young graduates need to take advantage of all of the advantages and opportunities Nebraska has to offer.

Original article here.