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LVEDC Talent Supply: Understanding Those Who “Boomerang” Back to the Lehigh Valley

By Colin McEvoy on May 24, 2018

LVEDC Director of Talent Supply Karianne Gelinas

LVEDC Director of Talent Supply Karianne Gelinas

Each week, Karianne Gelinas, Director of Talent Supply with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), will provide an update and additional information about its ongoing initiative to identify talent supply and demand issues in the region and create a strategy that results in a broader, ongoing understanding of the Lehigh Valley workforce. (See past updates.)

One of the regional queries LVEDC is seeking to understand is the trend around natives of the Lehigh Valley who leave for postsecondary education.

Having an understanding of what these individuals study while away, what occupations they obtain, at what point they might consider returning, and how we could attract them back to the region could greatly benefit our workforce competitiveness.

Our understanding of this trend is currently anecdotal: we hear of natives moving away to college and big city life, only to return a decade later lured by the lower cost of living and family-friendly life style. There is merit in understanding this population better and actively engaging in recruiting them back.

Patrick Sisson writes about this trend in an article for Curbed called “The new magnetism of mid-size cities.” In one example, he writes about Sarah Luckett Bhatia, 28, who previously said if asked if she would eventually return to her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, she “would have laughed in your face.” But in 2017, she did return, joining a growing number of younger Americans returning to the small- and medium-sized cities they left after college.

“There are no studies yet measuring the movement by what some call ‘boomerangs,’ those millennials moving back to their hometowns from larger cities, and much of the evidence is anecdotal at best,” Sisson wrote. “But conversations with Bhatia and others, as well as some demographic data, suggests those moving home are part of a boom in the country’s second-tier cities.”

Click here to read more about LVEDC’s ongoing talent supply initiative. Click here to see previous talent supply initiative updates.

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