Akron leading understanding of Generation X in Northeast Ohio
Office of Citizen
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Ideas on the Next Generation attractiveness of Northeast Ohio
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 06/05/2005 - 21:55.
The June 2nd WVIZ Ideas TV program explored what makes a city â€œcoolâ€?, by considering the former â€œRubber Cityâ€? of Akron's efforts to understand Generation X (folks born 1961-1981), which is the â€œGold Standardâ€? in the knowledge based economy. Akron is the first city in this region to analyze this critical economic development sector, with their Chamber of Commerce hiring the world-experts on the subject, Next Generation Consulting, of Madison, WI. Led by their Gen X CEO, Rebecca Ryan, Akron is comparing its Generation X appeal versus that of many of Americaâ€™s most vibrant cities, like San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis.
Ideas asked Next Generationâ€™s
They also want
33-year-old Ryan is dedicated to the study of Generation X, having interviewed more Xers than anyone else on Earth (over 10,000) in her work supporting regions and corporations that realize their futures depend on success with this â€œGold Standardâ€? population. As REALNEO reported in May, when Ryanâ€™s work for Akron was first made public, only 4% of NEOs 18-24 have loyalty to this region, vs. 25% nationwide, and only 35% of NEO residents in general feel there is good opportunity here for the young, vs. 69% nationwide.
Ryan points out Akronites tend to talk down about their community. She
Being the southern anchor of 4.5 million person Northeast Ohio, what
How Akron has articulated a Generation X vision is exciting. A few
Ryan spoke of a recent such public event,
When asked about leadership in Akron, Ryan points out Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic says â€œwe are open to do things differently hereâ€?, as proven by the fact Akron was first city in region to look at appeal to Gen X, and having a young professionals association is leading edge. As a consultant to corporations, as well as communities, Ryan says the argument she makes to businesses is, when rolling out a new product â€œyou study everything in the market â€“ employers need to recognize what their next generation of employees want, and most employers lag in this.â€? Cities must think and do the same way.
Ryan further points out, cost of lifestyle is one index that matters to Gen Xers and Akron is good. When Ideas asked Ryan â€œif you couldnâ€™t live in Madison would you live in Akronâ€?, she responded she enjoys Akron - is always struck by whatâ€™s happening â€“ "yeah, Iâ€™d live hereâ€?.
While not to be released in full to the
David points out that because of Ryan's work in Akron there has been healthy dialogue about who we are and should be, saying Akron needs to look at Gen X opportunities in three phases: 1. Keep college educated natives here, 2. Attract back those who left, 3. Attract strangers. David says lots of leaders jump to the 3rd phase but he suggests taking care of the first two phases first.
Ideas quoted David as writing that at a recent Gen X party for young professionals in Akron he saw â€œpunk, prep and pastorâ€? mingling together. David said that 10 years ago such a party would have failed, but through grass roots promotion it attracted a huge and very diverse cross section of Akronites and that at this party all types of different people interacted. David also pointed out that Akronâ€™s too small a place to be elitist or exclusionist.
When asked if Akron leaders are leading the Generation X movement well, David said Ryanâ€™s work has become subject of conversation at all levels, all over town. Further, he explained, 10 years ago area leaders talked about how to fill empty storefronts downtown, whereas recently several important, large-scale downtown commercial and multi-use projects were launched, each featuring strong public-private partnerships. In every case, the Mayor has stressed these are very attractive projects for young professionals.
Read more on this on REALNEO here.
Read more on this from Giffels at the Akron Beacon Journal.