For decades now, rural populations have been shrinking. Much of that is attributed to young people who leave their hometowns to go to college and never return, a phenomenon known as “the brain drain.”
But post-pandemic, those trends are poised to reverse. Thank to remote work, students today say they can envision a future where they can stay in rural America and build a career. But is higher education ready to train this workforce?
That’s the topic MPR News host Kerri Miller took to the University of Wisconsin River Falls last month for a Rural Voice town hall. There, she heard stories, suggestions and frustrations as students, faculty and community leaders discussed how to prepare the next generation of workers who want to start and stay in rural America.
This is the final installment in a four-part series featuring conversations from the Rural Voice project — a series of town halls hosted by Miller in communities across the state about the rewards and challenges of making a home in rural America.
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