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Attracting Millennials to Appanoose County

Thursday, April 11, 2019

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It’s hard to know what to believe about Millennials. The overall impression is that they are lazy, entitled and killing American culture one day at a time.

But in truth, we know that there is a lot more to Millennials than what floats around in popular culture. We know that they can be a vibrant addition to any community — and we want them here.

To attract Millennials, it is important to dig deeper and learn more about what makes them tick. Every week there’s a new ground-shattering revelation about their lifestyle choices. But the most conflicting reports have to do with where they live; and why. As a business or community leader, here is what you need to know.

Many Millennials are scrapping city life.

Millennials are increasingly moving out of large metropolitan areas, and heading for communities they can make their own. Thanks to this generation’s size and influence, Millennials are moving to new places made just for them, by them — revitalizing smaller cities or opting for hybridized urban-burb enclaves where quality of life is the driving force.

What does this mean for our community? Put simply, there is an opportunity to make Appanoose County more Millennial-friendly. Giving Millennials who are already here the opportunity to contribute their ideas, talents and vision to changing how our community and local businesses operate is a key starting point.

What do these communities look like, and how can other communities begin to attract the Millennial workforce?

First off, Millennials are leaving their metropolitan and urban homes due to the high cost of living. Millennials are interested in living within their financial means, even if that requires making lifestyle changes. In doing so, they won’t buy a home or rent without it fitting into their budget. What’s happening with Millennials in cities is really just part of a larger issue involving the rising cost of housing, food and entertainment in already-expensive cities.

Second, Millennials are fascinated with the revitalization of cities and smaller communities. They have a strong desire to feel like they’re a part of a community. One way to cultivate that for a Millennial driven workforce is to have programs that allow them to be involved. Millennials want to be creators and be able to put their stamp on projects or even a community. Having community restoration projects, support programs and cultural initiatives is key for attracting and retaining this workforce.

Lastly, Millennials are beginning to take control of their futures unlike any generation before them. They are the generation that has started more businesses per capita, retained more income in savings and is continuously shopping at smaller boutique stores and markets as opposed to box stores.

What does this mean for communities?

A community must adhere to the culture that the Millennials are trying to create; this means a host of potentials like Saturday markets, artisan events, a vibrant downtown with restaurants and shopping, as well as items like great schools and community organizations.

Communities looking to attract and retain Millennials are in need of three pieces:

  1. Affordable housing selection
  2. Community revitalization efforts
  3. Culture that satisfies their ideals

Millennials are driving change in the suburbs, revitalizing smaller cities and making their corner of the world a better place. When 79 million Americans want to make their communities even a little bit better, it is a good thing for the country.

Attracting Millennials to Appanoose County is good for business. We invite local companies and organizations to work with Appanoose Economic Development Corporation on creating and implementing strategies to attract and retain Millennials and help them feel like an important part of our community.


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