Bakersfield and Brain Drain (Again)

For years there have been discussions of brain drain the California Central Valley, and most of my experience for this writing comes from Bakersfield where I call home.

Regardless if local talent leave the area and/or come back, I think we can all agree our entire community can benefit from advancing our workforce to include more technical jobs to create a more diversified workforce.

When Bakersfield Californian Anna Smith recently got the conversation going, a follow-up reader David Franz provided what I thought was valuable insight about a paper recently published by Raj Chetty, a renowned economics professor at Stanford University.

For me, that was the whole “lost Einsteins” idea. Not only did the paper identify that innovation is widely viewed as the engine of economic growth, it also noted that improving opportunities or disadvantaged children may be valuable not just to reduce disparities, but also to spur greater innovation and growth.

If the definition of Lost Einsteins are women, minorities, and children from low-income families, Kern County needs to focus on tech-related industries in order to not only increase our workforce, but also diversify our job economy. 

In Amazon’s recent HQ2 location decision, one of the five preferences for a location was “Areas that can attract and retain strong technical talent.”

Amazon bringing a distribution center to our city is great, but bringing a support or data center with smart people making a decent living is a whole lot better for our economy and future.

Below are links to Raj Chetty’s article and paper

Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation

Paper – Who Becomes an Inventor in America

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