Young people moving away from rural Arizona

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Young people are moving away from rural Arizona. But what can help them stay? Local First Arizona and the Partnership for Workforce Innovation are teaming up to do a survey of rural youth and young professionals, asking them to give feedback about jobs, housing, educational and recreational opportunities in their communities and why they have stayed or moved away.

Kate Stuart is the Senior Programs Manager for Rural Development of Local First Arizona. The survey focused on ages 16 to 24 in eight communities: Bylas, Holbrook, Globe, Hayden, Kingman, Miami, Superior and Winkelman. Four out of five individuals said they are leaving because they couldn’t find a quality career in their community.

“Young people want to stay in their community because of the strength of their relationships and the natural beauty of where they live, but most of them reported that they didn’t know what career opportunities are in store for them if they stayed,” Stuart said.

It is difficult to obtain economic development resources, whether that is starting a business or getting technical training in rural communities, said Stuart.

“We also heard that lots of young people in rural want to become entrepreneurs; we heard that in Kingman, Holbrook, and Globe,” said Stuart.

How to help the youth

The very first thing business leaders, economic developers, community leaders and decision makers can do is invest in the relationships around young people.

“One great solution would be mentorship, business leaders going to schools and teaching them what the career opportunities are like where they live,” said Stuart.

Kate Stuart, Senior Programs Manager for Rural Development of Local First Arizona

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