Hot Discussion Topic: Post-Graduate Retention in Memphis

Posted on July 1, 2014


By Tiegst Ameha

Screen_Shot_2014-06-25_at_9In Memphis, most education conversations involve programs and students in pre-K, mergers, and K-12. While lower, middle, and high school education programs are the hot topics, higher education in this city is important for a number of reasons. Memphis’ colleges and universities are responsible for getting young adults job ready and hopefully prepared and eager to serve the Memphis area. Fostering sustainable talent is a huge priority for institutions of higher learning and the city as a whole. It is great to have programs that educate excellent students, but it is even better to have those same students (and all of their talents and enthusiasm) stay in Memphis beyond graduation.

For the colleges and universities, such as LeMoyne-Owen and Christian Brothers, which rely greatly on Memphis recruits, it is important to shine a light on a side of Memphis that native students are not already familiar with. Similarly, the colleges and universities that have students from all over the world, such as Rhodes and University of Memphis, have to emphasize the dynamic culture of Memphis to attract them to stay beyond their four years of undergraduate.

In an interview for “Behind the Headlines” the presidents of Christian Brothers, Rhodes, and LeMoyne-Owen all spoke to this issue of persuading undergraduate students to stay in the Memphis area post graduation.

President John Smarrelli of Christian Brothers speaks to the idea that most young Memphians are eager to leave the city and experience the world in the interview, saying “Those that are from Memphis at times don’t believe that Memphis is a very wonderful place to live and work and to enjoy”.

While a variety of sources across the city could attest to this idea, there are numerous organizations, in addition to these colleges, that are working against that mentality and toward a more sustainable talent.

BRIDGES does work with high school students, much of which has to do with the way we perceive and accept our city. Similarly, and sometimes in conjunction with BRIDGES, Leadership Memphis works toward establishing leaders in business executives in hopes of a more sustainable talent flow in Memphis. And for young business people, the not yet executives, the New Memphis Institute works toward connecting the new, young talent in Memphis to businesses that desperately need them. Together, such initiatives are taking serious steps toward retaining more and more of the young talent in this city.

As for the institutions of higher education, in the interview, Rhodes President William Troutt reveals the unique research and internship opportunities for the students at his college as an incentive for students to stay in Memphis postgraduate. As a result, these students finish their college years with unique connections to their field of study in and around the city. He also notes that his service-oriented students have a connection not just to career opportunities in Memphis, but also the communities in Memphis.

President Troutt, President Smarrelli, and President Johnnie Watson of LeMoyne-Owen offer up more thoughts on attracting students to Memphis and the general growth and status of their institutions in their interview with “Behind the Headlines”; watch for more information regarding these three institutions.

{Image Source}

Posted in: News