Mississippi group works to recruit and retain young professionals

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - They are leaders, under the age of 40, working to recruit and retain young professionals in Mississippi.

That is the goal of a statewide initiative launched by the Mississippi Development Authority. And an upcoming summit in Meridian will promote that campaign. Various promotional videos are helping spread the word about the Mississippi Young Professionals Summit.

At a board meeting of Coast Young Professionals, organizer Fredie Carmichael discussed the challenge of recruiting and retaining young talent.

"A lot of times it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Where we're sending other states our innovation. We're sending them our creativity and all of our talent. And so, the grass is greener on the other side because we're fertilizing it," said Carmichael.

"These opportunities are outstanding," said Kelsey Blum, as she directed the meeting of Coast Young Professionals.

The Pittsburgh, PA, native discovered one of Mississippi's greatest assets during disaster recovery work here.

"There's a lot to offer around here. The people are so wonderful. The community is so strong. And I think that's something that our young professionals have really tapped into that community aspect, which will further them in their career," Blum explained.

"I've been here for 12 years, and it's home," said Kimberly Nastasi, who heads the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce.

She is among the young professionals who choose to live and work in Mississippi and says highlighting opportunities in our state will help halt the so-called "brain drain".

"Whether it be Nissan or Peavey or Viking. There's so many opportunities. And on the Gulf Coast there's Stennis and Ingalls and all the businesses here. Certainly a place where people can have a living, raise their children and make it their home," said Nastasi.

The Mississippi Young Professional summit will be held in Meridian on April 25 and 26. Organizers expect around 350 young people from around the state will attend the two-day conference.

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