David's Blog

Monday, May 14, 2012

Connecting Young Adults to our Beautiful City

What connects residents to our community? What makes newcomers want to put down roots and build a life in Duluth? Thanks to a 2010 study conducted by the Knight Foundation, we have the answers. The study illustrated that what creates emotional bonds between residents and our community can be reduced to a few important things. Interestingly, the usual suspects - jobs, the economy, and safety - are not among the top drivers. Rather, residents consistently give higher ratings for elements that are not as routinely mentioned, including Duluth's physical beauty and how welcoming we are as community members. To our benefit, Duluth's aesthetics may be our greatest competitive advantage, as its natural beauty was rated significantly higher than the other 25 cities included in the study. But are we welcoming to newcomers? The Chamber's leadership is striving to ensure our Chamber members welcome and connect young people to this beloved city. We do so through Fuse Duluth, the Chamber's young professional organization whose mission is to "connect young people to strengthen our community." One of the key questions young people ask when deciding to move to or remain in the Twin Ports is, "Will I fit in?" Fuse Duluth's goal is to welcome and assist young professionals to become involved in our community. Not only is Fuse a valuable resource for young professionals looking to get connected, but also for employers seeking to hire local talent and businesses that desire to build a presence within the twenty to forty year old crowd. These connections are pivotal in helping students and young professionals both "fit in" and remain in Duluth long-term. We can proudly announce that since Fuse's inception in 2005, over five hundred college students have connected to the business community through our College Connection program. Specifically, students were paired with mentors to provide them guidance, insight and encouragement. Our community benefits when students connect to our community in these various ways. Optimistically, for the first time in decades the median age of Duluth's population decreased from 35.4 years (2000 Census) to 33.6 (2010 Census). The 2010 Census illustrates that the 20-24 year age-group increased by 3,000 in the past ten years, while the 25-34 age-group is up over 1,000. Simply stated, we are becoming a more youthful and vibrant community with the support of Fuse Duluth. This is an encouraging trend. We have reason for optimism. The future of our Shining City on the Hill looks bright. We have reason to believe that the Shining City will shine more brightly as Fuse Duluth assists these talented young leaders in connecting with our community, spreading their roots and assume positions of greater influence. In support, David

posted by David Ross at


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