RETAIN Monroe offers cash incentive to local college graduates

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Monroe County hopes to retain and grow the pool of skilled talent in the region upon graduation through a cash incentive. 

The initiative, Rochester Emerging Talent and Innovations Network, offers recent graduates from area colleges and universities a $2,000 lump-sum payment provided they live, work and network in Monroe County for one year, officials say. In its pilot year, RETAIN Monroe allocated $100,000 to distribute up to 50 grants to eligible recipients. 

“This valuable recruitment tool will help our local companies promote awareness of local opportunities, develop a more skilled talent pipeline and strengthen the county’s relationship with local businesses,” says Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “Other communities are bidding for our best and brightest—it’s time we demonstrate that Monroe County provides local college graduates the best opportunities for career and quality of life.” 

The grants are offered directly through Monroe County employers. New hires need to have at least a four-year degree directly related to their position in advanced manufacturing, life sciences, optics, photonics, imaging or software/information technology. Funds for the program come from the Monroe County Industrial Development Corp.  

MCIDC president Hanif Abdul-Wahid says the program “seeks to retain the potential intellectual properties of our most impressionable minds coming out of college into the manufacturing and technology industry.

“It was an overwhelming ‘yes’ from MCIDC to fund, support and monitor the progress of RETAIN,” he adds. 

It is estimated that roughly 19,000 residents of and visitors to Monroe County graduate from 19 local colleges and universities. 

“With local employers in need of talent more than ever, the RETAIN grants will provide another incentive to attract and keep those skilled graduates here in our region,” says Bob Duffy, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

Monroe County businesses with 100 or fewer full-time equivalents and 90 percent of employees working within the county are eligible to apply for participation in the program. Businesses may use the RETAIN recruiting tool as a signing bonus or a retention initiative. 

A full list of eligibility criteria and applications are available here. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. RETAIN Monroe will prioritize minority and woman-owned businesses as well as businesses in highly distressed ZIP codes, officials say.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

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