• D'Andre Anderson

Let's Talk: Talent Retainment

We’ve added a key issue after spending some time and speaking to constituents, we have realized that we are losing talent in our city. When I say ‘talent’, I am referring to trade skills and potential. However, there are things we could do to make sure we are utilizing our community and allowing them to make an impact. We should be thinking of students as assets, promote more equity, and look into empowering our community by giving more roles such as ambassadors.

We have the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in our city. This produces a large number of college students. I can see the temptation to think of some of the students as a ‘drain’ to resources founded locally. In addition, grabbing a fair share of the housing. However, college students bring a sense of energy and vitality to cities that we have to not let be underestimated. Students are looking to commit somewhere after college- why not integrate them here permanently.

Another key part to making this work is promoting more equity within our city. Research has shown that equity and inclusion have a positive impact on local economic development. This could look like organizing a consumption tax to help fund affordable housing or discovering what it could look like to do job-training programs for minority workers. We have to position ourselves as a city to be an inclusive city that caters to all citizens.

Not too long ago, Citi Bike, the nation's largest bike-share system, is partnering with Healthfirst to expand access to bike share through $5 monthly memberships for NYCHA residents and SNAP recipients (low-income residents who receive nutrition assistance) that do not require an annual commitment. This kind of outreach is important. It values flexibility and inclusivity.

Lastly, economic developer's campaign for local businesses is typically done by media or television. However, citizens can share the story of their community with the rest of the world. Creating some kind of ambassadors programming consisting of a diverse group of college students, community members, and professionals in our city- who can promote their respective constituents through engagements with other organizations, surrounds schools in our city, and neighborhoods. This kind of community engagement gives authenticity to our message. This also will help gain a sense of loyalty to one’s community.

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