Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sticky Detroit

GLUE provides some press for a Detroit-based initiative named Fusion. A major reason for the shrinking of Rust Belt cities is that the population is aging. Fusion's mission:

Fusion will serve as the premier organization attracting and retaining young professionals and new business. To proactively shape the future workforce of the region, as well as building up the next generation of leaders, Fusion will:

  • Build relationships between future generations, businesses and the community
  • Focus on attracting and retaining talent to the Detroit Region
  • Develop, educate and motivate the future leaders of the region
  • Empower future leaders to take responsibility in the future of the region; economic and community development
  • Provide a voice on issues affecting young professionals
  • Work to make Detroit the place to live, work and play

How is this initiative different from existing ones in other Rust Belt cities? Fusion should take a look at the shortcomings of the Propel Pittsburgh Commission:

The 35-member Propel Pittsburgh Commission is dedicated to meeting the concerns and needs of the City of Pittsburgh’s young adults and young professionals. Composed entirely of members aged 20-34, and chaired by the Mayor himself, the objective of the Commission is to encourage greater participation in government, identify or create programmatic or policy opportunities in issues affecting young adults and young professionals in Pittsburgh, and to inform various elected and appointed officials representing young people about issues specific to them. The Propel Pittsburgh Commission will help to give the young adults and young professionals of Pittsburgh a major role in moving the City of Pittsburgh forward.

The "function" of Propel Pittsburgh isn't expressly designed to retain and attract young professionals, but that goal is the primary reason this commission exists. Propel Pittsburgh and Fusion seem to me to be going about this in the same way. We'll see if Fusion can sustain its energy better than Propel Pittsburgh did.

I don't think anyone can change Detroit to keep people from leaving. However, I am all in on trying to attract more young adults to any Rust Belt city. Regarding the Fusion forums, they reach out to the wrong audience. These idea expeditions should be held in other Rust Belt cities.

1 comment:

Fusion said...

Hi Jim,

Thank you for picking up our story. The purpose of our forums is actually to get our young professionals to take a hands on approach to turning our city and region around.

The first part of our forums is to reach various populations in our region and get their opinions on what our priorities are. For example, is is transit, image, leadership, education, jobs, etc.

The second series of forums will dive down into each priority area and develop a plan of action.

Young professionals have never been fully engaged in our region and we are taking the intiative to give them a voice and provided the strucutre take control of our region's future.

So thanks again and we will be in touch.

Christianne
Director, Fusion
www.fusiondetroit.org