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Why Dissuading Students From Grad School Could Create More Jobs

What if we could take the top talent coming out of colleges and universities today, those that tend to feed into law school, med school, Wall Street and consulting, and put them in startups all over the country? Imagine the job growth possibilities we could create in the country just by giving recent graduates a taste of that entrepreneurial bug. Now, what if I told you there's an organization trying to do just that. Enter Venture for America.

Venture for America seeks to solve two main problems. Getting talent to startups, and revitalizing America's cities. These two initiatives work in tandem with each other, creating organic and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems and relationships in cities around the US.

VFA matches recent college grads with startups in cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, and New Orleans, in the structure of a highly competitive two-year fellowship. This direct immersion of students interested in seeing how startups actually work get an inside, hands-on view of a company with three to 50 employees in growth mode.

By placing students from national universities into cities where they may not have any connections beyond the 10-15 other fellows in their class, these fellows learn how to build their business networks from the ground up. By joining small growth firms, they get the opportunity to touch many areas, stretch themselves and prepare to either start their own companies or continuing their entrepreneurial journey by joining another startup venture.

Currently, the path for most college grads from top universities and liberal arts colleges is concretely paved for going into management consulting, law school, grad school, investment banking, etc. Companies and schools in those industries actively invest in recruiting top college grads, and provide a well-recognized career path. It is a safe route. It pays well. It has credibility with society. Parents of these students know that their children have a rigorous and well-regarded plan. And for many of these students, this is a great option. We need smart lawyers, bankers, teachers and consultants in our communities. If we can also help entrepreneurially-minded students to gain hands-on experience at startups, we can take outstanding talent, train it up earlier than would otherwise happen, in places outside of major coastal cities and build businesses across the country that will feed economic revitalization in many cities.

Organizations like VFA envision revitalizing the U.S. by bringing the best and brightest students and placing them in startup communities all over the nation. This radical approach to bringing talent to rest of the U.S. is another great step toward encouraging innovation, entrepreneurial education, and economic independence.

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