Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What would it take . . .

to keep you here?

A couple years ago, I was ready to leave Michigan and return only to visit family. I'm a young professional with two bachelor's degrees and odds of being accepted to more than one of the many graduate schools to which I've applied, only one of which is in Michigan. My story is not at all unique - with the loss of jobs and public services declining, plus a distinct reputation as part of the Rust Belt, Michigan looks less than attractive to millenials (people born between 1980 and 2000).

However, projects like Detroit Goat Farm, Greening of Detroit, Urban Farming, Pure Michigan, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, and Free Clinics of Michigan, among a host of others, have changed my mind. I'm seeing how active many Michiganders are in their communities, how much innovation could happen here, and dreaming a new dream for the state of my birth. The result? My first choice for graduate school is Michigan State University, with University of Illinois at Chicago a close second, for its proximity to the Mitten State.

Of course, there are changes I'd like to see. At the top of the list is public transportation and stronger emphasis on education. I'm sure we can all think of things we like and don't like about our state of residence, be it Michigan, California, New York, Texas, etc.

Now I'm asking: what would it take to keep you here? Or to get you to move here, or to move back?


  1. Good. This challenges me quite a lot. And while I have no specific answers to those questions at the end of the post, thoughts are brewing on how I can contribute to Detroit whether or not I remain here. I appreciate the reminder that "D-town" is still the place of my birth.

  2. I'd return to Michigan or my rust-belt home state in a heartbeat once my education is completed so long as I could find a position in my small field. Of course better public transit would be a nice to have as well.

    Based on observations gathered while living somewhere with a large population of young people,it seems that what many young professionals desire are jobs (obviously), entertainment, and a 'youthful' culture. Pittsburgh is undergoing a transformation from a rust town to a technology and medicine town and is increasing in popularity with young people. I think that gives the Lakes cities some hope.

  3. Thanks for the comments - I would agree that even those of us who leave the state can be proponents of a healthy Detroit.