High cost of living prompting many young people to leave Long Island

OAKDALE, N.Y. (WABC) -- Eyewitness News sat down with a group of students at Dowling College.

They're all looking to get into different careers.

The one thing they have in common is that they all plan on leaving Long Island.

"It's just like a fight to live. We're fighting to stay where we want to stay but it's more comfortable to go somewhere else," said Keith Lamoreaux, a student.

"I really hope to go to North Carolina," said Samantha Chaikin, a student.

Also on their lists were western New Jersey, Arizona, and Maryland, all places with lower property taxes and more affordable homes.

"I've grown up here, my whole family is here, so it's obviously not my top choice, but it's something I might have to do," said Addie Browning, a student.

"Ready to move out of here, there are no jobs here," said Victoria Francisque, a student.

Meanwhile, local employers are struggling to keep and attract young talent.

At North Shore LIJ, the island's largest employer, Joseph Cabral, a senior VP, tells Eyewitness News they have some 2,000 openings for well-paying jobs.

"Even when we have qualified individuals we can probably offer a job to, they take a look at the housing prices and they're like, 'You pay a good salary but there's no way I'm going to be able to buy a house,'" Cabral said.

There is some progress being made. In Wyandanch, only steps from the LIRR, they're building hundreds of affordable apartments complete with shopping and restaurants. There are similar proposals in Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma.

"We have to collectively wake up," said Nathalia Rogers, a professor at Dowling College.

Rogers advises local and state leaders on how keeping young people here is critical to the local economy.

"They have choices and we want to make Long Island their choice," Rogers said.

It may be too late for this group.
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.