JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) - Mississippi has no shortage of universities.
The state is home to eight public institutions and several highly regarded private schools.
Thousands of graduates earn diplomas each year, but within five years, half of them have left the state.
The Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership has a plan to knock that number down.
Attention businesses in Mississippi, you have until Thursday, June 30, 2016, to sign up for this year's Toast to Talent Welcoming Reception.
You could find some qualified employees and help put the plug in Mississippi's brain drain.
One region, one vision, one voice, the goal is to make the Jackson Metro a destination community.
It starts with keeping our best and brightest right here.
Shirley Tucker is the Senior Vice President for Leadership Development with the Greater Jackson Chamber partnership.
She explains, "Recent research revealed that at least 50 percent of our kids go out of state to look for other jobs, so what we are trying to do is to make sure that we sustain some of that talent in Mississippi."
To do that, you have to bring businesses together with qualified applicants.
That will happen this October at the Toast to Talent Welcoming Reception, but businesses only have a little more than a week left to sign up.
Shirley adds, "This year we decided to involve all organizations, any business that is hiring within six months of when these students are graduating. We are asking them to be a part of this."
Sound like a plan?
Give the call at (601) 948 – 7575 or e-mail the Greater Jackson Chamber at http://www.greaterjacksonpartnership.com/
The students have been carefully vetted by their schools.
The chamber will help, too.
Shirley explains, "We'll Introduce them to other facets of our community to let them know that there are some wonderful things that are happening here, and so not only will they be able to get a job here, but also be able to get involved with the community and see some of the other great things that are happening."
And that sounds like a plan for sustained, long term, success.
Shirley went on to say that sometimes you are so close to a jewel that you don't recognize it.
In addition to attracting talent, other components of the One Region Initiative include healthcare, arts and culture and infrastructure improvements.