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Brain preservation

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  • | 10:58 a.m. January 8, 2016
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The issue of “brain drain,” when college grads leave town, armed with an education to go work and make a life somewhere else, has confounded Sarasota-Bradenton economic development officials for years.

A group of college officials in the area recently introduced a plan to help stem the drain. The plan, called the Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast, C4, includes New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Three of those four schools have campuses on the North Trail in Sarasota, while SCF has campuses in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Venice.

Officials with the schools, at a Jan. 5 event, say they believe the partnership will both slow the brain drain and attract top students. The program provides a way for students to take classes at other colleges and still earn credit at their main school. That follows a move made in other towns with a cluster of schools. In five years, “we should have a new model for higher education,” says New College President Donal O'Shea.

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation each contributed $25,000 toward the hiring of C4 Initiative Manager Laurey Stryker. A longtime education official, Stryker was previously president of USF Sarasota-Manatee.


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