Daily Bread for 8.12.22: Retention is a Dialogue

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see afternoon showers with a high of 71. Sunrise is 5:58 AM and sunset 8:00 PM for 14h 01m 29s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.6% of its visible disk illuminated. 

 On this day in 1981, the IBM Personal Computer is released. 

By Rama & Musée Bolo – File:IBM_PC-IMG_7271.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr,

So, of the nation, William Frey writes that White and youth population losses contributed most to the nation’s growth slowdown, new census data reveals

The particular ethnicity of residents is not a concern for me (or for Frey, as he’s simply look at trends). The youth population (of any ethnicity) should always be a subject of attention. There are two problems for small, rural communities: if they have fewer young people or if among young people few wish to remain in town. There’s all much talk (and talk and talk) about growth, but many small towns have a problem even retaining talented young residents. Ambitious newcomers won’t readily come to a place that ambitious young residents are leaving.

(When I am writing about retention, it’s retention of residents, unless expressly mentioned otherwise. Public institutions may have their own troubles retaining workers, but those troubles matter far less than a community’s problems with loss among residents.) 

What does it take to retain residents, especially talented & productive younger ones?

It takes asking what they would like in their community and seeing how much of that the current generation can offer. 

Successful retention most certainly does not require — indeed, it suggests strongly against — relying solely on the current generation’s ideas about what Whitewater should be. The current generation has scads of ideas that they are sure the next generation would want. (Because, after all, who wouldn’t want what Whitewater’s current generation wants?)

I’m not young, so I’ll not offer theories on what young people want. One doesn’t have to be young, however, to see that an older person’s idea of what young people want is a poor substitute for a thorough survey of the younger generation’s hopes and expectations. 

Retention of residents, especially many talented younger ones, requires a dialogue, not a monologue. 

 The geometry of life: When mathematics meets synthetic biology


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