According to a new Campus Philly study: nursing and accounting students stay in Philly; economics majors, not so much.

In the organization’s recently released Philadelphia Renaissance report, Campus Philly noted a 115% increase in college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds in Philadelphia between 2000 and 2017. Between the city and region, there are 118,500 additional young degree holders now living and working in Greater Philadelphia, generating an annual $394 million in city and state tax revenue.

Behind the numbers are stories of more than 90,000 students who are granted degrees every year in the Greater Philadelphia region. For some of these graduates, Philadelphia is the ideal place to launch their careers, combining great job opportunity and high quality of life. For others, the Philadelphia job market is harder to penetrate and they are more likely to go elsewhere. The study shows that for students majoring in fields with clear career pathways – nursing, accounting, education – finding a job in Philly is relatively easy. For others, it takes more work to stay in a place they fell in love with during college.

Below are the stories of some of these graduates, why they chose Philadelphia after graduation and how their choice of major made a difference.

Matthew Vesely, Theatre & Writing Arts, Rowan University

“For students, like me, graduating with a theatre major, there aren’t many opportunities to stick around Philly and have some sort of income, and a lot of theatre artists will look elsewhere. I’m a bit of a different story. I take theatre as more of a supportive credential that I take with me. It allowed me to study something I loved, while enhancing how I think about communications, which is my career focus now. Being a double major in Theatre and Writing Arts, the latter degree is getting me very far in Philly, specifically within the communications/marketing sector.

My junior year, I decided to make an effort to participate in internships within this industry. The connections I’ve made in Philly led me to Tierney Agency, where I work as an intern copywriter, and will hopefully begin working full-time in September. I really care about the work and learning how to improve my craft, and how to apply my craft to this business and better utilize my skills.”

Selena Nelson, Registered Nursing (Bachelors); Masters of Science in Nursing, University of Pennsylvania

“After I finished nursing school at Penn, I was fortunate to interview and ultimately receive my dream job at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), in part as a result of the relationships I developed with my clinical instructors, Penn professors, and CHOP nurses that I had come to know well through my time spent there as part of my major. Staying in Philly after graduation gave me a place of familiarity to start my first professional job, and also the ability to explore a new area of the city as I moved off-campus and into an apartment in Center City.”

Lavonne Nichols, Organizational Leadership (Masters),
Eastern University

“I recently graduated with a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University, with a concentration in social entrepreneurship. I chose this major because I have a strong desire to help the community by bringing socially conscious businesses, resources and education to people in need. I have decided to stay in the Greater Philadelphia area because there is a vast need and several opportunities for me to be involved in meaningful work. Staying in the area after graduation will enable me to pour back into the communities in which I grew up. Philadelphia is a great place for me to work because the nonprofit sector is so strong and there’s a lot of opportunity and strong networks for people interested in social entrepreneurship.”


As we look to the future and building talent in Greater Philadelphia, addressing the needs of students whose majors make it harder to find a job in Philly is top of the list. By understanding the kind of work these graduates would like to do and connecting them to the regional employers eager to hire them, Campus Philly can do even more to grow Philadelphia’s talent pipeline.

At Campus Philly’s Annual Meeting of stakeholders on May 30th 2019 from 4-7 PM at International House, the organization will dive deeper into the stories of graduates who are making Philly home and changing the city and creating opportunity for others. President Deborah Diamond will share the results of the Philadelphia Renaissance report, followed by a panel conversation moderated by Technical.ly Philly’s Christopher Wink, and featuring:

  • Dominic Salerno, Community College of Philadelphia
  • Sara Hall, City of Philadelphia
  • William Toms, REC Philly
  • Rafael Ilishayev, goPuff

RSVP for the Annual Meeting here.