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Looking forward to the future: A new chapter for 18 upcoming local high school graduations.

Class of 2019, this is your moment. This weekend, 18 high schools across Central New York will be handing those diplomas over and sending their seniors off to face the future. 32 more schools in the Central-Upstate area are expected to hold their ceremonies the following weekend. ( This is an exciting time in any young adult's life: they have their entire future to look forward to, whether their path be college, jumping into the industry, taking a gap year, trade school, serving our country or whatever other path they may choose. But it also opens the door to discuss opportunities for industry experience for these young adults emerging onto the job market scene.

A 2018 article by New York Upstate which lists 50 of the most promising places to live for the up-and-coming adults of Generation Z, cites many locations in Central New York as places to be. Among the cites mentioned are:

  • #24 - Ithaca: Tompkins County, Population: 66,159; Young adults: 29.2%; Median age: 26.6; Bachelor's degrees: 72.1%; Median income: $50,579

  • #19: - Lansing: Tompkins County, Population: 3,985; Young adults: 20.2%; Median age: 38.6; Bachelor's degrees: 76.1%; Median income: $61,067

Now, it's important to know that Ithaca's overall population, young adult population and percentage of residents with a Bachelor's degree or high level of education is largely motivated by the fact that there is a community colleges (Tompkins Cortland Community College), a state school (SUNY Empire State) and two major colleges which draw large non-local and out-of-state populations of young adults (the renown Ithaca College and ivy-league Cornell University). As a result, this factor creates a sort of inflation in the Ithaca statistics despite the fact that a fair majority of the true, year round residents are college educated.

Neighboring city Lansing, on the other hand, fosters a deeper conversation about what it is that drives the local economy year-round and thus creates these opportunities for young adults to start their careers. While close enough to Ithaca (literally a 30-40 minute TCAT ride away) to experience some of the financial/sales impact of the seasonal volatility in Ithaca's population, they are also clearly distinguishable in the market demands they face and in what they ultimately produce. This creates new opportunities, especially for young hopefuls who wish to remain in upstate NY while they learn to stand on their own two feet.

Perhaps the biggest economic market in Lansing isn't the reputable People's Market of Ithaca, or sales made in any one particular good (although fresh local produce is a popular commodity). But rather, it's something non-tangible: the entrepreneurial spirit. At the beginning of 2018 alone, The Ithaca Journal reported that 47 different companies filed with NY in January for a new business in Tompkins County, with a majority of those businesses seeking to open either in Ithaca or Lansing.

What is especially interesting about this is that it creates opportunities on two fronts: (1) seeking employment at one of these local business; and (2) taking advantage of Lansing's entrepreneurial spirit and (seemingly) public support for local businesses over large corporations, in order to potentially outline plans for their own start-ups. The latter may seem like a stretch for this up and coming generation. But if there is anything that Generation Z and the internet have shown us, it's that innovation knows no age, and age knows no limits.

So, once again, a heartfelt congratulations to Central NY's Class of 2019! Just know that if you are actively looking for a place that hits close to home where you can get your career started, there's a lot of opportunities to look into in Lansing.


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