Rochester, NY - Democratic candidate for County Executive Adam Bello today announced the Rochester Emerging Talent and Innovation Network (RETAIN) Program – an initiative designed to entice students attending college in our region to live and work in Monroe County after graduation. Monroe County is home to a number of colleges and universities with a total enrollment of over 50,000 students.
“If Monroe County is going to see real growth and an expansion of opportunity, we need an initiative that taps into the thousands of talented young people attending school here and provides the resources necessary to help them find employment and stay here after graduation,” said Bello. “Our colleges and universities provide these young people with a world class education, but Monroe County has failed to create an atmosphere to keep more of those students here. We can do better. Working with businesses to create more internship and co-op opportunities that allow students to stay here over the summer will provide those students with the real-world job experience they need, while at the same time providing local businesses with the opportunity to develop talent that could lead to permanent employees.”
Bello’s proposed task force will be co-chaired by business leaders and college and university officials. It will also include students, community and governmental leaders, as well as county staff dedicated to the initiative.
The taskforce will focus on developing and expanding work opportunities for students with the potential to be hired by those businesses after graduation, as well as examining other ways in which the county could support efforts to not only keep the students who attend college here in Monroe County, but also attract those students with Rochester ties back to Monroe County after graduating from out of town schools. The areas to be examined by the taskforce include:
Creating year-round housing options
Expanding transportation options
Opening downtown college dormitories to allow young students to enjoy all the expanded entertainment options and other aspects of vibrant city life
Expanding networking opportunities for young people
Implementing tax incentives for affordable housing after graduation
“We must take a two-pronged approach in this effort. First, we need to help all students attending school here find opportunities that will lead to full-time employment, and we need to do a better job of showcasing Monroe County to the students here from out of town,” added Bello. “Too many local families are watching their young ones leave our community after they graduate college, or never come back after attending school elsewhere, because they can’t find work, and too many companies are complaining they can’t find quality, qualified employees. County government can and must lead on this issue.”
In 2015, Monroe County issued the M200 Millennials – A Survey and Focus Group Report that stated that a large percent of the survey respondents stated they expect to leave our area in the next 5 years, despite the fact that they value living on the Greater Rochester area. The report identified a number of steps the County could take to help keep millennials in Monroe County. Internships and professional development programs were mentioned as items that could be key to them staying here.
“As the father of two children, I want my kids to have the same opportunities my wife and I had. We need county government to work harder and bring people together to ensure we’re continuing to grow our economy and creating opportunities for people to find good jobs and raise their families right here in Monroe County,” Bello concluded.