Attracting Talent vs. Attracting Jobs

In 2000, Indianapolis established a goal to double the number of downtown Indianapolis residence by 2020. How do you think we’re doing? I was referred a book that had some compelling points and if you are passionate about cities and economic development. This is a great quick read to add to your list: Live First,Work Second by Rebecca Ryan, printed in 2007. This book discusses how to reach and retain the next generation. When surveyed, “3 out of 4 Americans under the age of 28 said a cool city is more important than a good job.” What comes to mind when you read this statement? Ryan points out, then why is the measurement of economic development/stability based on ‘number of jobs’? Is it time to establish new measurement matrix? What would that look like?

My job in the coming years will not be to attract companies. 100 percent of my job will be to attract talent. — Janet Miller, Nashville Area Chamber

Our economic development goals should include increasing the incomes of all people in the region. Resulting in better education, better health, more sustainable economies and increase of environmental protection. (We have a project happening in Fountain Square to attempt at taking a stab at this very thing.) Should we be measuring the number of patents in the area? Did you know that according to the US Small Business Administration, 4 out of 5 new businesses are started by women, Gen X’ers and minorities?

This is the first time I was introduced to the idea that we are now in a knowledge based economy where knowledge workers create market value.

Knowledge is the new basis for wealth. In the future when capitalists talk about their wealth they will be talking about their control of knowledge. Exactly how one controls knowledge is in fact a central issue in a knowledge-based economy.
—Lester Thurow (1999)

What questions does Develop Indy get when a company is looking at Indianapolis as a city to bring their business to? They are getting more questions on livability. What does your city look like…online?

A city (or company for that matter) is three times more likely to retain young talent if they feel that their voices are being heard and valued. The more young talent are engaged in their community, the longer they plan to stay.

I would like to close with a story Ryan re-introduced. Atlanta, 1962: All of the cities leaders/investors/stakeholders/influencers were on a plane to Paris. The plane crashed and everyone died. Not only do we ask, will your city be able to continue to operate efficiently, but Ryan poses the question: Would Atlanta be what it is today, incredibly diverse, full of young energy, incredibly dense, livable if the group on the plane had survived? Is your city run by the PMS group (Pale, Male & Stale)? Is your city open to the new generation of do’ers that look to take on a role (or responsibility) in their neighborhood?

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