The term “bankruptcy” might make some college students reconsider finding employment in Detroit after graduation, but not all young adults will count out the Motor City, some city experts say.
Although the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy Thursday, it won’t be enough to scare away Millennials looking for employment after graduation, says Benjamin Erulkar, vice president of economic development for the Detroit Regional Chamber.
The organization released results from a survey in June of 7,000 young adults who graduated from a Michigan college or university and found that 63% planned to stay in the Mitten — a 12% increase from a similar survey in 2007.
Erulkar says many while young adults will take Detroit’s recent filing into consideration when making their first location decision after graduation, they should realize the city’s action only formalizes what many Michiganders have known for a while — Detroit’s going through some hard economic times.
“We regard bankruptcy at the chamber as a serious but necessary measure that is the first step for Detroit’s fiscal recovery,” he said.
Yet that’s what Jeanette Pierce, director of community relations for D:hive, an organization that provides information and tours of Detroit, says is the best part — Millennials will have the opportunity to be a part of getting the city back on its feet.
“They want to be a part of something bigger,” she says. “It’s a selling point.”
However, Stephanie Wei, vice president of financial literacy at NerdWallet.com, a financial analysis website, says she expects businesses, and therefore jobs, to begin scrambling to leave the city to avoid the high taxes likely to come their way.
“The quality of life for people who live in Detroit was already bad to begin with and will probably get a little bit worse,” she says, adding 40% of the city’s streetlights aren’t functioning properly, according to emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s report.
Wei says as college graduates leave school with student loans, the last place they might want to be is a city with poor economic conditions.
Pierce says Detroit’s reputation often is enough to make some college graduates question moving to the city, but after learning more about what the city has to offer — unique shops vs. cookie-cutter superstores — they often have a change of heart.
“They don’t consider Detroit because they don’t know it,” she said. “They only know what they hear on the news or from going to a Tigers game at one point, but when they come and see it from the inside perspective, you can see their eyes light up.”
While Detroit’s population has decreased over the last few years, the percentage of college-educated residents in Detroit increased from 9% in 1970 to 27% in 2010, according to data from the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.
Tara Hester, a Michigan State University senior studying languages and business communications, was born and raised in Detroit. At school, she joined LiveWorkDetroit!, an organization aiming to bring college graduates and young talent to her hometown.
She says the term “bankruptcy” hovering over Detroit could scare college graduates away, but it won’t stop her group’s efforts to bring them to the city.
“Detroit is a very big city but it’s small enough where you can make a difference in it,” she said.
Pierce says many graduates are looking for walkable, urban communities. Detroit is home to three major athletic stadiums, multiple theaters and more than 100 unique local shops similar to those found in Chicago or New York City, except college graduates can actually afford to live downtown next to these amenities.
Erulkar says the survey showed that an overwhelming majority of young adults reported the biggest factor in deciding where to settle after graduation was simply where jobs are available.
He says the growth in employment opportunities, private investments,and residential housing will continue to increase. Occupancy for single-dwelling houses, apartments and loft spaces downtown for young college graduates is currently at about 97%, he says.
“The conditions that attract people to Detroit are here and they continue to grow,” he says.
Powered by Facebook Comments