Plugging Dayton's Brain Drain: WYSO's Lewis Wallace Talks To Laura Estandia

Apr 10, 2014

UpDayton holds yearly summits to plan new projects.
Credit Alex Grodkiewicz / UpDayton

Dayton’s got a problem with brain drain—young people get an education here, then leave to use those skills somewhere else. The organization UpDayton was created in part to combat that, and it’s now in its sixth year and holding a summit this Friday.

Executive Director Laura Estandia says since it was founded, UpDayton has helped spawn a number of creative projects including the website Dayton Most Metro’s online event calendar and a website to help businesses set up internship opportunities.

"You can have everything you want," Estandia says. "Low cost of living...the urban night life that you want to experience...the bars, the breweries, restaurants...but it only takes you fifteen minutes to get out of the city to hike."

She also says they aren't seeing a full-on decline of brain drain, but the proportion of graduates racing off to other areas has been gradually subsiding since the Recession.

This year UpDayton solicited project ideas in advance of its yearly summit. Estandia says the proposals include creating bike trail maps that highlight local amenities, holding a downtown Dayton day for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employees, a bike-in movie event in a vacant lot downtown, a new “I love Dayton” campaign, and more—summit participants will vote on the top three ideas.

Under Construction is WYSO’s series on growth in the greater Dayton area. We dig underneath the physical and economic markers of growth to look at the human consequences. Check back Thursdays for new installments.