Starting in summer 2009, a group of regional economic development professionals have to come together to address the issue of regional recruitment. Specifically this group is interested in strategies to retain higher skill, higher wage demographics that are contributing to the “brain gain” phenomenon illustrated in data provided by the University of Minnesota Extension. Data has shown that those in the age range of 35 – 45 years are seeking out rural lifestyles and actually bringing education and wealth into the region despite the significant losses from younger demographics leaving for school, which is commonly referred to as the “brain drain”. By developing strategies that attract and retain the “brain gain” demographic this effort will further diversify the region with higher skill, higher wage jobs and is likely to increase entrepreneurship and job creation that would fulfill niches in the region that are currently un-served or under served.
For more on the “brain gain” data, visit the University of Minnesota, Morris Extension page by clicking here.
(Picture of group)
(Who we are – links to our organizations: RDC, DEED, Ortonville EDA, LQP EDA, SW ABE, MNWEST Canby, Johnson Memorial HealthCare, Mn Extension)
Region 6W is located along the South Dakota border in west central Minnesota. Region 6W consists of Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties. The 2010 Census identifies 3,346 square miles of land area within the region. The topography of the county is closely related to glacial activity, which is responsible for most of the region’s natural features. The region is characterized by a gently rolling glacial drift plain containing many closed depressions occupied by an abundance of small lakes and wetlands. The majority of the upland prairie is used for agriculture. Tree cover is concentrated on the banks of the Minnesota River Valley and its tributaries and around many of the lakes.
The larger communities (population over 1,000) in the region include: Appleton (1,412), Benson (3,240), Canby (1,795), Clara City (1,360), Dawson (1,540), Granite Falls (2,897), Madison (1,551), Montevideo (5,383), and Ortonville (1,916). These communities are the commercial / industrial centers for the region based on their respective population densities. Outside these urban areas, a rural atmosphere, including smaller communities, parks, farms, lakes and prairie lands all contribute greatly to the local and regional economies.