Program aims to keep bright minds in Milwaukee

It's a whirlwind cross country trip designed to help college students and boost business in Milwaukee.
 
Their challenge begins as soon as they take flight.
 
"Marketing is my undergraduate and I'm also getting three masters degrees at the same time in International Business, Global Sales and Marketing and then Management," said Colin Murdy, a junior at Concordia University.
 
You heard that right, three masters degrees and guess what else?
 
"I am a Janesville native," he said.
 
And not only that, Murdy is planning to stay here. In fact, Murdy already started his own company.
 
"My company is called Murdy Global," he said.
 
This is exactly the scenario Innovation in Milwaukee -- an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee -- is trying to create through their latest program, known as Destination Innovation. It works to keep bright minds in the Milwaukee area after they graduate.
 
"Experience is important because then they actually get to put their skills into action," said Maggie Bryde, the Innovation in Milwaukee project coordinator. "I think the other side of it is connecting them with local businesses so they know what is going on here in Wisconsin and they feel that they can stay here and really do big things."
 
So here's what's happening: 10 local college students and local business mentors board a bus for the airport. Then they will hop on a plane bound for California and begin brainstorming innovative ideas for the two businesses sponsoring their trip, Southwest Airlines and Kohl's. After, they will pitch their plans to other passengers on board before landing in California to visit the Kohl's Digital Center.
 
"Over the trip to California, I think the most important thing will be to understand what customers need and what customers are expecting," said Heather Johnston, a Destination Innovation mentor.
 
And in less than 24 hours, they will be back on a flight bringing those ideas back home to Milwaukee.
 
"I'm really excited to be staying in the Milwaukee area to work with these people," Murdy said.
 
If you'd like more information on the Innovation in Milwaukee program visit InnovationinMilwaukee.com.
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