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Next Gen Initiatives: Strategies and Models for Engaging YoungProfessionals in their Community.

Wipperfurth, Adam.

There are undeniable migration patterns occurring in the United States that have seen young, educated minds move from rural to metropolitan areas and from parts of the middle and northern regions of the United States to southern and western regions. In line with what has been deemed a 'live first, work second' attitude, many first move to where they want to live and then look for a job. Making a city cool has become as important as presenting a thriving economy in today's society where most of the younger generation first chooses where to live and then where to work. Communities deprived of educated residents will face increasing challenges of workforce attraction, retention, and economic development. Understandably, many rural and some metro areas experiencing the exodus of their youth are worried. This migration is one form of the phenomenon known as brain drain. Most state and local governments have realized the trends of brain drain and have begun taking steps to combat this phenomenon. One way localities are attempting to attract and retain young residents is through the creation of young professional organizations (YPOs). YPOs and their programs focus on creating a place that former residents will want to return to and new residents will want to call home. They can act as a tool to connect young people and improve the image of a city or region. This paper analyzes the structure of YPO models, both internally and as they function with the surrounding community. Although the goals of individual YPOs vary, they virtually always work to enhance the quality of their region. Common programs of YPOs are in the areas of social and professional networking, recreation, professional development and education, volunteering, leadership, and civic engagement and empowerment.

Publication date: 
Prepared in partnership with MN Jaycees by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
30 pp.
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