City Leaders Work to Keep Tri-Cities College Grads Here - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City Leaders Work to Keep Tri-Cities College Grads Here

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Hundreds of WSU Tri-Cities students received their degrees Friday during graduation ceremonies at the Toyota Center.

The students that graduated Friday are part of an expanding college community in the Tri-Cities.

More college students are coming to the Tri-Cities and staying here after graduation..

City leaders are taking notice and working to meet the needs of the changing demographics.

"Going to WSU Tri-Cities and meeting all these younger people, you get a feel for yes there is a young community here in the Tri-Cities," said Jose Magana, WSU Tri-Cities Student Body President.

WSU Tri-Cities students filed into the Toyota Center Friday to receive their diploma and embark on their next chapter.

Many of those students are choosing to stay here and it's changing the make-up of our area.

"It's keeping students here but it's also bringing a younger community here. I have various classmates who travel quite the distance to come to WSU Tri-Cities and bringing those new young people really helps the feel," Magana said.

"It's an important part of the Tri-Cities and keeping everyone in town, keeping it vibrant and having that access to higher education for all generations," said Melissa O'Neil Perdue, WSU Tri-Cities spokesperson.

WSU Tri-Cities used to only have junior, senior and graduate level classes, but in 2007 the school received approval from the legislature to become a 4 year institution.

More students are choosing the Tri-Cities as their campus and that's caught the attention of the City of Kennewick, which is working to consider the needs of that age group more closely.

"We're communicating with them as often as possible. We're getting them involved in some of our commissions. We're trying to make sure that we're listening to what their needs are so that we provide a place for them to want to be," said Mayor Steve Young, City of Kennewick.

Many young people in their early twenties in the Tri-Cities say it can be a difficult place to meet people or find activities that fit their interests.

Mayor Young says they plan to make investments to change that to keep the younger generation here.