Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Why Young Professionals Leave Fort Wayne

I made an attempt to get a hold of 4 or 5 former Fort Wayners, who played in my leagues, to get their brief written input on why they left. The one response I did get so far... below, from my facebook, sums it up though:

"Job" is easily the number one reason for anyone college age or above. One engineer, who did not want to move, left for employment in Texas recently. One guy who grew up on a farm and worked at Parkview bluntly told me one reason he left is because he kept getting called back to the family farm to help all the time.  But he wanted to move to a bigger city (nightlife) as well. Of course he wouldn't have left if there wasn't a job lined up for him in Chicago.


Kristina said...

I had to leave Fort Wayne in 1992 because I wanted to get a particular master's degree that was not offered anywhere near FW. After that - because all of my family was in FW - I wanted to come back - but there were no job opportunities for me. So let's see, I've been gone (and in the Indy area) for 16 years. I consider myself a pretty successful professional (wanna see my resume?!). I'd still LOVE to come back to FW however, I have yet to see anything that comes close to what I'm doing today. I even reached out to a headhunter in FW and he said that I was just too "damned qualified" for anything in FW. I know I'm good, but I ain't that good :).

Canada said...

I am actually the inverse, I am moving to Fort Wayne, but I happen to be going to Graduate School at TUFW. As Fort Wayne grows and develops this young professional post undergrad demographic is really what needs to be focused on. There are some good things going on with Renaissance Pointe and Harrison Square, but really jobs are what is needed. Bringing more professional jobs here. Fort Wayne should really be courting some of the larger corporations to move into Downtown Fort Wayne and a little outside.

It seems that Fort Wayne is having somewhat of an I.D. crisis; is it progressive or conservative? It can be balanced, but that balance doesn't seem to have been reached. Entertainment is also an issue. Youthful clubs/bars and an extended nightlife for those sub 35 would be great (especially in Downtown), but it seems that the city is a little scared of that. Honestly, Fort Wayne could easily become a music scene for northern Indiana, and western Michigan, but there would have to be some backing from the city.

I think in the long run it would be great for the City to Help beef up its Institutions of Higher Education. Although in someways it can cause a transit effect, if it is conjoined with city growth and development it can cause people to stay. People who get Master's and Doctorate are much more likely to stay where they got there degree. And if you are getting a Doctorate you are going to be somewhere for close to 5 years anyway. IPFW has the capacity to do this, it just needs some pressure.

It seems the city is trying to supplement and get young professionals to stay by offering financial discounts on housing and other things, while this is good in theory Fort Wayne's cost of living is already low and there is people enjoy making a certain amount of money and obtaining a certain amount of status.

Overall from what I have been reading about the city (in the past few months) looks hopeful, but they need to keep going and overcome some of the negative effects of conservatism. Personally, I think that if the City slowed/stopped on suburban development and slowed housing development as a whole and refocused on community and having some positive gentrification in the urban parts of the city it will go a long way in getting young people back .

Robert Enders said...

My parents left Chicago and returned to Indiana 28 years ago because they had me. Fun cities attract young people. Safe, affordable cities attract families. It's more important to attract people who will stay and form roots than people who will leave as soon as they get a better offer.

That being said, hats off to Fairplay for bringing fun to an otherwise safe, boring city.