MaryBeth Matzek: Young professional groups come together to slow Wisconsin brain drain

This is an excerpt from a column posted at BizOpinion.

Between 2008 and 2012, an average of 14,000 college graduates left Wisconsin annually, with most of those between the ages of 21 and 29, according to data compiled by UW professor Morris Davis.

To slow the brain drain, young professional groups across the state will team up next month for a series of events to get the under 40 set excited and more engaged in their surroundings. The expansion is based on NEWaukee’s successful young professional week.

That program started four years ago and features a variety of events and activities designed to get workers fired up and excited about living in Milwaukee, says Angela Damiani, president for Milwaukee’s young professional organization.

“It’s a very fast pace of activities and creates a real buzz and excitement,” she says. “It really shows off what Milwaukee has to offer. Young professionals want to be involved, but they want to be asked and this is a great way to do that.”

The unique activities, for example, include a ballet event where young professionals mingle in a ballroom and ballet dancers come out and perform to music that most wouldn’t expect.

“It’s an interesting collision of experiences,” Damiani says. “Young professionals may have never been to a ballet and wouldn’t know what to expect so here is something they can see and get a taste and it opens up the ballet to a whole new demographic.”

Read the full column