COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Many graduates crossing the stage on Monday said they're not sticking around.
As these young adults enter "the real world," they're also leaving El Paso County.
"Most people are going to Denver, New York, or L.A. Most are leaving. Not many are staying in Colorado Springs," said Monika Abraham.
"A real constraint for us in El Paso County is, we're graduating these students who are very capable and want to stay in El Paso County, but, we don't have the right economic base or the right job mix to absorb all of that," said Fred Crowley, a senior economist and professor at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
"Having an opportunity to come back to Colorado Springs … I would love, if, that was available. Having lived here the past four years, I've really enjoyed my time. But because of the lack of opportunity, I have to go elsewhere," said Colorado College graduate, Joel Begay.
"There's kind of a stigma to stay around Colorado Springs for Colorado College graduates. I think there's kind of the urge to conquer the world after you've graduated. I'm personally moving to San Francisco," said Nanette Phillips, another recent graduate of Colorado College.
"This is the vital intellectual property we need to keep in the community. We've been having a hard time getting business located here. We all want to hire them, but to get them to locate here and hire them, is the problem," said Crowley.
While many move on to other places, those still here are trying to figure out how we can keep some of these young adults with bright futures.
"I think strengthening the bond between Colorado College and Colorado Springs … I think that's the everlasting goal. I just think it needs to happen faster," said Kira Withrow, another Colorado College graduate.
There are about 800 entry level job positions open in El Paso County, according to the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.
These are jobs that require a degree and zero to two years of experience.
If you combine the graduating class of UCCS, Colorado College, and Pikes Peak Community College - we're looking at more than 4,000 students who are out looking for jobs.