Talent Dividend Work

Why is the Nashville region is so attractive to young professionals?

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What makes Nashville so special? 

That was the question local leaders were asking in 2002, when the greater Nashville region was recognized by Hot Jobs – Cool Communities as a talent magnet – specifically for coveted young professionals.
Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting produced the report using seven indicators that make an area attractive to young professionals. The Nashville Area Chamber used it to examine why young professionals were moving to their region in order to better understand the assets that create a "sticky" community – one people stay in versus leave.
This report looked at the 10-county regional area around Nashville. According to Nancy Eisenbrandt, CCE & COO of the Nashville Area Chamber, everything that was built after this consultant report revolved around attracting and retaining young professionals and how to communicate the region's desirable qualities to them.
One initiative focuses on attracting talent from universities. The College to Career Fair Consortium, launched 20 years ago, consists of the Nashville Area Chamber plus anywhere from 13 to 17 colleges and universities within a 100-mile radius of Nashville from cities like Cookeville (Tennessee Technological University), Bowling Green, and other cities within a driving distance of Nashville working together collaboratively. About 1,300 candidates come to this fair annually looking for jobs in and around Nashville. The Chamber matches the business community's perspective with the perspective of the colleges to provide a strategic way to address the business community's needs.
The Chamber is also involved with the Young Professional National Initiative, working in partnership with about 60 different organizations in their 10-county region that focus on engaging young professionals. They host several events throughout the year that bring together all of the partner organizations, and intermittently reach out to the young professionals in this 10-county area to find out what their hobbies and interests are in order to connect them with the partner organization(s) that would interest them. Collectively they reach about 8,000 young professionals.

"This has really created a voice for the Nashville young professionals to find a place in the community to stay involved and build a family and career here so they don’t look elsewhere," says Alex Hughes, Manager of Talent Retention for the Chamber. The website also has an events calendar that promotes all of the Chamber's and their partners' events, and leaders of each of the groups are invited twice a year to CEO Conversations where these young leaders can ask questions and figure out how those leaders got to where they are.
The Nashville Emerging Leaders Awards was launched seven years ago when the community realized there was a void in young professional leadership recognition. Each year about 400 nominees are divided into categories and each category is judged by five to seven leaders in that industry. Intern Nashville is another effort to attract students to the Nashville area through internship programs, uniting the business and college communities through their website. All of this started because of Rebecca Ryan's report and the work the Chamber has done to attract and retain young professionals by providing access to resources, educational opportunities, and cultural options.

Writer: Nicole Rupersburg
Source: Nancy Eisenbrandt, Nashville Area Chamber 

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