College Grads Come to Columbia
Compared with nearby cities, many recent college grads consider Columbia a great place.
"I think a big thing is just the cost of living, going out to eat or groceries and everything are just a lot cheaper, and housing and stuff is reasonably priced," added Jake Bauman. "And another good thing is, compared to those really big cities, Columbia's large enough where it's got almost anything you could want to do."
Some apartments cater to post-college residents and won't rent to students.
"It's more for the people who are trying to get away from that," said Erin Hague of Katy Place Apartments. "Students who, you know, did their undergrad, went through that, did the whole party thing. Now they're ready for a nice, quiet place where they can study or work or just have a nice, quiet place to live."
A younger population also creates a need for more commercial development, such as restaurants, boutiques and big box retailers. That growth means more jobs for more young workers. In fact, many young adults find their first jobs in Columbia's banks, insurance companies or hospitals. Several local companies recruit recent grads, including State Farm Insurance which uses a tuition reimbursement program to attract younger employees.
"We do do a lot of recruiting at universities and colleges around the region," explained State Farm's Tia Lindell, "and so we're just looking for that top talent.".
Added Toole, "You can get out there and, I think, really make more of a footprint I guess. That's my goal anyway."
But, for the time being, Toole thinks Columbia is just perfect for her.