How Baltimore can stop the brain drain

Baltimore has ways to stop the D.C. brain drain.

The Sept. 8 op-ed ("Baltimore's proximity to D.C.: economic help or drain?" made the compelling point that we are losing recent graduates in law, government and public policy to higher paying federal jobs in Washington, D.C. The question is why that matters to those of us in Baltimore. It's actually quite simple: The city faces a myriad of social and economic problems that require the energy and capabilities of our public service interested graduates. Washington's close proximity compounds a typical problem in the public sector, in that talented people naturally keep progressing in their careers.

Baltimore does have a significant factor in our favor in terms of tackling this issue: the wealth of higher education opportunities that train public servants and that are easily accessible and more affordable than some others in the region. The University of Baltimore has a School of Law, as was mentioned in the op-ed, but it also has a College of Public Affairs that is educating leaders in government and nonprofits. Our college's schools of Public and International Affairs, Criminal Justice and Health and Human Services attract many students from Baltimore who know the city and have the passion and knowledge to solve public problems here.

And it's not just classroom opportunities that are leveling the playing field between here and the nation's capital. We're connecting our students to professional organizations in Baltimore, through internships and employment opportunities. The college offers student professional development grants to help students attend professional meetings, training and conferences in their field. Capstone projects, independent studies and service learning opportunities also open up possibilities for our students.

How do you stop "brain drain"? Plug the leaks! Make a compelling case for caring, committed people to build their careers in Baltimore. It does work — we see it at UB every day.

Roger E. Hartley, Baltimore

The writer is dean of the University of Baltimore's College of Public Affairs.

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