Carol Coletta shared her expertise on developing communities that attract and retain talent during the first presentation in the Fuel the Fire speaker series. Coletta spoke to a group of more than two hundred who gathered to hear about emerging trends and how Wichita can provide catalytic growth opportunities. Cities ignoring or denying these trends will lose their competitive advantage.
–The world is moving too fast to research and replicate “best practices” in other places.
–58% of the success of your community is tied to college-educated talent. Your community’s college graduation should be measured, monitored and moving upward.
–An economically integrated community positively influences intergenerational mobility within that community.
–Economic mobility is more difficult than ever to achieve today, especially if you don’t live near a college-educated talent pool.
–A vibrant core is imperative for your community’s success and evidence supports the importance of ‘place’ as an accelerator of talent and opportunity.
–The 25-34 age group wants to live within a 3-mile (walkable) radius of the city core. This is a 40-year trend that keeps accelerating. This age group chooses ‘place’ first and then looks for jobs.
–Business is following talent back to city cores.
–Every city has a distinctiveness and you must find yours and promote it. What are the attributes that make your city unique?
–Brand exhaustion makes your city’s localness more appealing.
–The future of a city is no longer determined by a few bold decisions made by several key people. Community development is now a product of lots of decisions made by lots of people.
–Cities should retain and capitalize on loyalty from those who aren’t always physically present in the community, but might contribute their time, talent or treasure if asked. U.S. cities haven’t approached this fractional loyalty in an organized way, but the country of Australia has made a concerted effort to stay networked with their citizens who live abroad.
Coletta warned that that the non-believers will tell you not to invest in your community and will cause you to continue to fall further and further behind. She advised the crowd to put every community decision they are asked to support to a simple test. Does it increase talent, opportunity, or quality of place?
A challenge was also issued to the 25-34 age group in Wichita to have the courage to start building vibrancy now. “There’s no need to wait for permission to get started,” said Coletta. It’s time for all age groups to understand Wichita’s Localness and lean into it.
Next up in the speaker’s series is native Wichitan James Chung on September 17. He’ll share his insight into the demographic changes affecting communities like Wichita. RSVP for the remaining two events in the speaker series here, and see the official press release about the series here.