Less than 20% of Southeast Missouri State University graduates will make their life and career in the Cape Girardeau area. That’s a number I’d like to change.
Talented workers come from many areas and all walks of life and it’s important to ensure strong workforce pipelines across the board. However, one of our best regional pools of talent is the 12,000 or so University students right here in Cape. After spending five years working for Southeast, where I had the incredible opportunity to meet thousands of alumni all over the world, I can confidently say the more of these alums who live in our area, the better off we will be.
In order to increase the percent who stay, the Cape Chamber and the University are working together to build a program called connectCAPE, with the basic idea of getting students connected with businesses. We have hosted a few small events and recently we branched into the next phase, a job shadowing program. We started small with just 10 students, but we hope to match many more students and businesses in the fall. It’s really pretty simple…the more available talent you have, the more jobs will come to your community.
We understand many students will move on from Cape Girardeau and we of course want them to find the right path. However, it would be a shame if a student graduates from Southeast without ever having a chance to see what the business community in Cape can offer.
Of course this program only works if it benefits students, which is truly at the heart of the effort. Giving students earlier access to more real-world settings will undoubtedly add value to their education.
One last note, this Friday the Chamber is hosting First Friday Coffee at Isle Casino. We have nearly 300 business professionals in one room every month. If you haven’t been lately, check it out one of these months.