Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


First Advisor

Mark Balschweid

Date of this Version

Spring 5-9-2014

Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Leadership Education

Under the supervision of Professor Mark Balschweid

Lincoln, Nebraska, May 2014


Copyright 2014, Jack Ehrke


Many Midwestern and Nebraska communities are experiencing a net out-migration of citizens, with a particular decline among college graduates. As older generations begin to retire in the next few decades, many management occupations will be transferred to a younger generation, making it vital to retain young leaders in Nebraska communities. The current study focuses on young adult leaders who would be perhaps prime candidates to fill this impending leadership void. One hundred nineteen alumni of the Nebraska Human Resources Institute (NHRI), a leadership mentoring program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who graduated college between 2007-2014 rated various migration, community, and life factors that influenced their decision to live in their current community. The descriptive study survey instrument sought to identify factors most important in the migration decisions of NHRI alumni, factors that are most important to NHRI alumni who chose to either live in Nebraska or live outside of Nebraska, and factors that are statistically significant in assessing the likelihood of in-state or out-of-state migration patterns for NHRI alumni. Results of the study indicated that all NHRI alumni are highly influenced by career factors such as to obtain a job where I can make a difference. NHRI alumni who chose to live in Nebraska placed more importance on living near friends and family, along with living in comfortable communities. NHRI alumni who chose to live outside of Nebraska placed a higher emphasis on graduate school opportunities. The findings are valuable to Nebraska communities as they seek to retain and attract talented, community-oriented citizens.

Advisor: Mark Balschweid