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Ranking America’s Top Young Adult Labor Forces: A Rust Belt Rising?

Cleveland is in the midst of an economic and cultural revival, however we are not quite at the stage of development as Boston, or even Pittsburgh. However, there is hope: immigrants. According to a new study by the Cleveland State University College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland ranks among the top 10 cities in the country in workforce educational attainment for 25 to 34 year olds, placing ahead of knowledge hubs like Austin, Seattle, and Chicago. About 16% of working 25 to 34 year olds has a graduate in Cleveland.

So why is this important? Because, as the authors of the report note, “those metros that have a high concentration of highly-skilled young adult workers have a head start in the race toward the ‘next’ new economy”.

Cleveland is clearly doing well in this area, thanks to the life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors of the city’s economy and the jobs that those industries create. But if Cleveland wants to become the “next Boston” or the “next Pittsburgh”, it needs to do better a job at attracting and retaining international talent.

The authors explain “for a historically insular region like Cleveland, this out-of-the-market knowledge migration brings a deepening of a region’s idea bank, as well as increasing global connectivity. The ability of a region to cross-pollinate ideas and get connected with global markets in crucial in the creation of new firms and emerging industries”.

Cleveland has shown the world a new side of itself this summer, with the Gay Games, the RNC convention announcement, and LeBron James’ return. The world has seen beyond the negative stereotypes. Now they just need to come and stay.

Source: "Ranking America's Top Young Adult Labor Forces: A Rust Belt Rising?" by Richey Piiparinen, Charlie Post and Jim Russell. Cleveland State University, Maxine Gooman Levin College of Urban Affairs. August 2014.