The Iowan Project: More Good Ideas from the Silicon Prairie

There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in the Midwest-Great Plains region that many folks have dubbed The Silicon Prairie.  The latest good idea is the Technology Association of Iowa’s The Iowan Project, a neat website designed to track former Iowans and encourage them to consider returning home for exciting new lives and careers.  This effort is based on the recognition of core challenge facing Iowa and other rural states.  They groom talent that often opts to leave for other regions (for a great book-length dive into this issue, check out Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America).   Reversing this brain drain involves encouraging the in-migration of new residents and encouraging former residents to return home.  This latter task is actually easier, as talented young people often want to return home to raise families.  Yet, they fear that local career options may be limited.  Efforts like the Iowan Project help these folks identify career opportunities back in Iowa, and build networks with fellow Iowans across the US.  The ultimate success of the Silicon Prairie will depend on talent development—home grown talent and talent that moves or returns to the region.  Efforts like the Iowan Project are sure to help on all fronts.  If you’re an Iowan, drop your pin on the Iowa Project Map.  If you’re not from Iowa, consider bringing a similar project to your own community.

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