The University of Nebraska Center for Rural Research and Development in Kearney is trying to find ways to get professionals with Nebraska roots back into rural areas around the state.
The center will use resources from the University of Nebraska Alumni Association and the software company Xpansion to aid in the project.
The goal of the project is to expand on a successful "cross-sourcing" model used by an existing software company and leverage it to recruit University of Nebraska alumni back to rural Nebraska in targeted professional service occupations such as technology, legal, health care and other high-growth sectors.
"We regularly hear from alumni who would like to move back to their home state if only the right jobs were available," said the Alumni Association's Zaborowski. "The Rural Sourcing project provides a channel for alumni to learn about such opportunities, and for many additional opportunities to be created."
The first phase of the two-year project seeks to discover the lifestyle expectations and career
preferences of alumni who have moved out of state. The study will also examine why some alumni with occupations in those industries did move back to rural Nebraska.
The information obtained during phase one will be used to develop communication and education strategies for participating alumni who will receive information on current job openings or assistance for starting or buying a business in rural areas.
Shawn Kaskie, director of UNK's Center for Rural Research and Development, is the principal investigator on the project.
"This project aims to reverse the rural brain drain in our region," Kaskie said. "In the pilot phase, we will offer alumni a variety of options to return their families and expertise back to rural Nebraska."
Funding for the project comes from the Rural Futures Institute's Research and Engagement grant program.