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Attracting young professionals to small cities

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

There’s a new effort underway to make smaller Michigan cities more attractive to young professionals.

After college, many up and coming young professionals are drawn to the big cities where the nightlife is livelier and there's more diversity. But several smaller Michigan cities are trying to change that perspective.

Jackson recently launched the Anchor Initiative.  More than a dozen of the city’s largest employers are joining forces to make Jackson’s downtown more attractive to young professionals looking for a place to live and work.

“If we want to attract the right talent and the potential employees that will make our company great for another 126 years, then we need a vibrant downtown hometown,”  says Patti Poppe, works for Consumers Energy, which is involved in the Jackson project.

Poppe says Jackson needs more downtown apartments to attract young professionals.

Jackson’s not alone.  The governor’s office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives hopes to promote similar efforts in Lansing, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek Grand Rapids and other mid-sized cities.   The effort is similar to what’s been done to attract young professionals to downtown Detroit.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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