Graduate, get a job and move far away. It's a cycle that one group wants to stop in Mississippi.
Tim Mask is Mississippi born and raised. He dreamed of an advertising and marketing job, outside the borders of the magnolia state.
"It never occurred to me as a student that I could stay here and succeed in that," said Mask.
He ended up doing just that. He stayed and now he's leading the charge for a group called Mississippi Brain Drain Commission.
"What we're really trying to do is change the culture of the state for the better. To put some swagger, I guess, into the way we think about ourselves," explained Mask.
The brain drain, as they're calling it, happens when college grads get the diploma, then pick up and head out.
"We've got to make sure that we're competitive with the rest of the region in retaining our best and brightest. We don't need to be watering the grass of other states," Mask said.
Mask is brainstorming with private and public partners to look for ways to make those young adults stick around. They'd like to see tax incentives for businesses that hire recent grads. They'll even pitch the idea of tax credits for individuals who take jobs in-state.
"I believe that we can move the needle. Maybe faster than people realize," said Mask.
They think the key to that is in the outside-the-box type jobs.
"Definitely want to keep along that track of focusing on technology, focusing on science. Also focusing on arts and entrepreneurialism. Anything that we are going to be competitive at and lead in is going to have those aspects," explained Mask.
Mississippi Brain Drain also wants to set up a statewide internship exchange. They say folks are more likely to come back post-graduation, if they have a good internship experience.
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