Familiar Territory

More than a quarter of STEM graduates stay in Arizona

by Don Rodriguez

The tide may be turning where it comes to a large portion of Arizona college students preparing for STEM careers then taking their degrees to another state after graduation.

This is a conclusion included in the most recent update of the Arizona Technology Council Industry Impact Report, which uses data from different sources to offer a glimpse of trends in the state’s technology industry. The report is available here.

A new feature of the report includes a migration map of graduates in science, technology, engineering and math from programs at more than 100 universities, community colleges and other degree-granting institutions throughout the state.

The data was collected from professional profile data found at sources such as LinkedIn, which allows users to include the cities where they work and live, says Erik Larson, CEO of eImpact. His Oregon-based company creates web-based data-reporting solutions designed to help engage stakeholders, drive effective policy and create new growth. The eImpact team is charged with keeping the report updated quarterly.

A spreadsheet accompanying the map revealed more than 29.5% of the graduates reported they stayed in Arizona and live or work in places from Tucson to Flagstaff and major cities in between.
Arizona as an employment destination was followed by California, which 13.8% of our state’s STEM graduates call home, and Texas, where nearly 7.4% are launching their careers.

“I think that the (Arizona) retention rate is pretty good,” Larson says. “It would seem to make sense given that employment overall and its growth in Arizona is pretty strong, so it does seem like, potentially, those kinds of graduates are able to stay in state.”

Larson was referring to the fact that Arizona is adding technology jobs at a rate 40% greater than the overall U.S. technology sector. Also, more than 2,600 tech jobs have been created so far
this year.

The data for this and other information in the report comes from data collected from sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CompTIA and AngelList. Some of the major sources automatically feed data into the platform while other types are specifically collected for the Council’s purposes.

The team at eImpact is in the midst of the second year serving the Council, with the third year scheduled to begin in February, Larson says.

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