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Heartland Tech Weekly: Midwest companies need to do a better job of retaining college grads

Last week, I wrote about a report from the Brookings Institution and the Walton Family Foundation on the “state of the Heartland.” The report uses a nontraditional definition of the Heartland, outlining a region encompassing 19 states across the Midwest and southern United States, stretching from Oklahoma up to North Dakota, across to Ohio and Michigan, and down to Louisiana.

I wrote about how some of the data in the report indicates that the Heartland is still struggling to retain young talent. One of the sources I spoke with for the article, a VP with the Illinois Technology Association, noted that while many of the college students Heartland startups interview hope to move back to the Midwest eventually, they still think that they need to head to the West Coast to launch their tech career.

In this section, I write often (just last week, in fact!) about how startup communities can do a better job of recruiting West Coast talent to “boomerang” back to their hometowns. But in order to create a healthy tech community with solid pipelines of both entry-level and executive talent, Heartland cities also need to make retaining more college graduates a priority.

I don’t have answers as to how to make that happen, but I’d like to hear from any startup founders who read this newsletter about what they’ve found has worked for them. How do you spread word of your company to local college students? What have you found constitutes a successful internship program that makes students want to stay on after graduation and work for your company?

Thanks for reading, and as always, send me your thoughts and feedback via email. You can also sign up here for VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech newsletter to get this column in your inbox weekly.

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

Featured Video

Check out this video from CNBC: “Not all ‘opportunity zones’ are created equal”



From the Heartland Tech channel


Lending startup Affirm to open Pittsburgh office, with plans to hire 500 people in 5 years

Affirm, reportedly valued at nearly $2 billion, will hire for primarily operational and back-office roles in its new Pittsburgh office.


Why Trump’s trade war could be the tipping point for American manufacturing

In Trump’s trade war envirnoment, American companies no longer have the financial motivation to deal with the risks of manufacturing their core components overseas.



Comeback Cities tour takes politicians, venture capitalists to tech startups in the South

Led by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), partners from firms including GV and Bloomberg Beta met with startup founders in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.


The Heartland is still struggling to retain young talent

A new report found that the Heartland is adding young adults at a rate of 0.4 percent annually — compared to 1.2 percent in other parts of the country

Beyond VB

Will tech leave Detroit in the dust?

As IPO proposals value Uber at an eye-popping $120 billion, auto makers are racing to gain ground in everything from car sharing to driverless technology. At stake: who will control the future of transportation. (via Wall Street Journal)

The new hotness for tech billionaires? Do-gooder investments they can write off on their taxes

Sean Parker crafted a little-known part of the tax code called Opportunity Zones. Now every one-percenter in Silicon Valley wants in. (via Recode)

Local VCs launch initiative to make Chicago’s tech community more diverse

A new initiative led by a handful of leaders at Chicago venture capital firms wants to examine the diversity gap in Chicago’s tech community, and identify ways the city’s VCs and startups can become more inclusive. (via Chicago Inno)

Utah cloud unicorn Qualtrics files to raise up to $200M in IPO

One of Utah and cloud computing’s most promising unicorns is looking to graduate out of the herd. Qualtrics filed an S-1 with the SEC on Friday, announcing its intent to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering. (via Forbes)

Source: VentureBeat

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