A friend of mine recently graduated from Radford’s Nursing program. She said – rather matter-of-factly – that 90% of her graduating class did not have a job. Here I thought health care was THE field to be in, and she’s saying that 9 out of 10 graduates can’t find work.
Welcome to the working world, class of 2010. But there’s good news, particularly if you’re looking for a place to relocate. CreativeClass.com just named the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford area a Top 25 “Best Place” for recent college graduates (it should be noted our neighbors to the east and north were noted, as well). Some of their criteria included:
- Presence of 20-somethings (20-24-year-olds) in the population.
- Singles – measured as the share of unmarried people.
- Earnings potential – measured as average salary.
- Unemployment rate.
- College-educated workforce – the share of the workforce with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Rental housing – Having an abundant, available stock of rental housing is key. We measured this as the share of all housing made up of rental units.
- Youth-oriented amenities – like bars, restaurants, cafes, sports facilities, and entertainment venues.
- Creative capital – we use this to capture the creative energy of a place. It’s measured as the share of employed artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, designers, and entertainers in the workforce.
- Openness – a region’s openness to new and different kinds of people reflects a lack of barriers and willingness to let newcomers, including young people, have a go. Our measure is the share of gays and lesbians and foreign-born residents in a community.
Yep, we’ve got all of that here in the New River Valley. And TheDailyBeast.com takes the discussion of the “Twentysomethings” even further:
Twentysomethings understand well they face not only fewer job options but dwindling corporate commitment—it’s not only harder to find a job, it’s also easier to lose it. So it makes good sense to pick a city where the labor market is thick with job opportunities as a hedge against economic insecurity. What twentysomethings value the most is the ability to meet people and make friends. This also makes very good sense actually. Personal networks are about much more than having fun, they’re among the best ways to find a job and move forward in a career.
Twentysomethings rank the availability of outstanding colleges and universities highly. Many want to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree or professional degree, and having these options available where you live is a big plus. Of course, young people value amenities, too—from parks and open space to nightlife and culture. It’s less about all-night partying though, twentysomethings prefer places where they can easily go for a run or bike ride, work out or walk their dog, grab a coffee, take in a concert, see interesting new art, or take in a good meal with friends.
I’m seeing this more and more among people who are graduating from Virginia Tech and Radford. While the pull of NOVA and other areas is appealing, quality of life seems to be mentioned as a higher priority among the Twentysomethings I meet. Is there a shift happening? With telecommuting and the ever-expanding reach of this here Internet tube, I think so; in fact, I think the shift has already occurred.
That’s a soapbox for another day. For now, rest assured that we’d love to have you here in the New River Valley, Recent College Graduate.