Thursday 1 December 2022
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Incentives Available for Businesses to Keep Grads in Rochester

By Staff

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Monroe County is offering local businesses a retention incentive, to keep recently graduated students in the area.

Rochester Emerging Talent and Innovations Network (R.E.T.A.I.N. Monroe) is a pilot initiative aimed at ensuring top-tier talent remains in our region after graduating from area colleges and Universities.

“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,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said. “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.”

Every year, about 19,000 residents and visitors graduate from local colleges and universities, yet Monroe County struggles to keep the graduates here.

The program offers recent graduates a $2,000 lump sum payment providing they live, work and network in Monroe County for a year. Funding is supplied by the Monroe County Industrial Development Corporation (MCIDC). The grants are offered directly through Monroe County employers, with the stipulation that the new hires have at least a four-year degree directly related to their position in the following fields:
• Advanced manufacturing
• Life sciences
• Optics, Photonics, Imaging (OPI)
• Software/Information Technology

“The RETAIN Program is a product forward-thinking and progress implemented by County Executive Adam Bello and his administration,” said Hanif Abdul-Wahid, president of MCIDC. “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.”

A RETAIN Monroe participants must have:

  1. Graduated within three years from a college or university located in Monroe County and hold a four-year degree or a Master’s Degree;
  2. Obtained full-time employment at a business headquartered within Monroe County with 100 or less employees for one full year after the date of hire;
  3. Earned a degree that is directly linked to their employment;
  4. Employment in the job fields of Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Optics, Photonics and Imaging (OPI) or Software/ IT; and
  5. A starting annual salary no higher than $60,000.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said with local employers in need of talent more than ever, the RETAIN grants will provide another incentive to attract and keep skilled graduates here.

“Our nineteen Greater Rochester-area colleges and universities attract young talent from around the globe, turning that potential into a highly-skilled and valuable workforce,” Duffy said.

In its pilot year, RETAIN Monroe allocated $100,000 to distribute up to 50 grants to eligible recipients.

Businesses located within Monroe County businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees, with 90% of employees working within the county are invited to apply.

Businesses can use the RETAIN recruiting tool as a signing bonus or a retention initiative and can claim up to five grants ($10,000) for new employees per year. Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) and Veteran-owned businesses with proper certification will not be subject to the $10,000 cap.

Greater Rochester Enterprise president and CEO, Matt Hurlbutt said the program creates an additional compelling reason why college graduates should choose to live and work in Rochester.

“Fueling the talent pipeline is vital to support local business growth,” Hurlbutt said.

For more RETAIN Monroe information, criteria or applications visit