Let’s cut to the chase: If you are graduating this spring at any of our area institutions of higher learning, please consider staying in the region.
It’s been an appeal made for decades, but unlike the past, there are now genuinely strong reasons to make that choice, and they get stronger each time a newly minted college graduate opts to launch a career without rocketing out of the county.
For starters, consider the steady expansion of high-tech and cutting-edge choices in the area, some of which were highlighted in the Times Leader’s 2018 inNOVAtion special section, available online at timesleader.com/category/special-sections.
The region boasts one company reinventing the plain paper bag in a way so simply creative it may make you slap your forehead in wonder that someone didn’t do it decades ago. There’s a business refining the phone-over-internet movement. Another start up is growing with a model for advertising via smart phones and other high tech methods. And there’s a Kombucha currently sold in three states and 19 flavors, to name a very few.
Then there’s the boom of business incubators offering space and support for those pursuing a dream idea, including the Innovation Center and related Think Center in the former Woolworth’s store in downtown Wilkes-Barre, the Enterprise Center at Wilkes University, and a new center being set up in a former bingo hall in downtown Hazleton.
And there are the ideas being launched through those services, like the young women selling gown-less sleeves, the young men making hoodies that become pillows, and the son of an Italian Ice vendor who figured out how to infuse an unpalatable marijuana derivative into and ice treat, to help children who can benefit from the drug in their battles with cancer or other hard-to-beat diseases.
As many stories in recent years have pointed out, all our local colleges and universities have increased resources to bolster entrepreneurship, encouraging opportunities for home-grown innovation, and to prepare graduates for jobs that are booming right here, including a wide range of options in the health field.
Stories published in connection to the graduations at King’s College, Misericordia University and Wilkes University have shown striking examples of how much students can achieve in local schools: A woman earning three bachelor’s degrees in four years at Wilkes, a self-admitted high school slacker earning a dual major degree as an adult learner at Misericordia, and King’s College students who took advantage of the 3-2 agreement with Notre Dame University to earn bachelor’s degrees at both, the Notre Dame degree in engineering.
That last may offer one of the best arguments for looking to stay in the area. Dylan Pegg earned a bachelor’s in chemistry at King’s and in chemical engineering at Notre Dame, and despite the chance to work in high-tech hubs such as Boston, is going to work at Schott Glass in Duryea, in the new department of pharmaceutical glass innovation.
So, sure, pursue your dreams, be true to yourself, help mankind and all those other commencement bromides. But consider adding one more:
Look to apply your new expertise in the region that helped you acquire it.