When most students graduate from college, Detroit is often not their first choice in finding a place to work or live. The LiveWorkDetroit! program is showing that Detroit is a premier destination for post-graduates.
LiveWorkDetroit! on Campus is a program sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). With help from Albion students and alumni who are experienced with Detroit, LiveWorkDetroit! put on a presentation on Oct. 11 that showed students the exciting possibilities Detroit holds.
Jeanette Pierce, a community organizer with the Detroit-based nonprofit group D:hive, spoke about what can attract young people to Detroit. D:hive is a storefront downtown that provides networking and information services to the city.
“There are many opportunities for young people in Detroit,” Pierce said. “There are hundreds of jobs available, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Detroit has many ways young people can use their talents.”
Pierce, who lives downtown, had a lot to say about the city’s social scene.
“One of the great things about living in Detroit is that you’re not one in a million, you’re one in a few thousand,” Pierce said. “It’s like being at college. You can get to know people and there’s a true sense of community. I can walk to a hundred different bars and restaurants, and that’s something only Detroit has.”
Pierce also spoke proudly about Detroit’s arts.
“The Detroit theater district is one of the largest in the country,” Pierce said. “It has over 13,000 seats throughout its venues. Combine that with the DIA, which features artists whose paintings are no longer sold, and you have a city with a vibrant culture.”
Virginia Aldo, a project coordinator for the talent enhancement division of the MEDC, agreed.
“Many college students leave Michigan after graduating,” Aldo said. “What we try to do is inform students of the opportunities Detroit holds for them. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurship, and there is a lot of hiring going on.”
Melanie Piana is an Albion class of ’95 alumna and the deputy director for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, a nonprofit organization that attempts to bridge the gap between Detroit and the surrounding communities. She also spoke at the presentation and said that Detroit is a great place for young people to get their lives going.
“Many students are trying to plant the seeds of their life after graduation,” Piana said. “You can really find your passion in Detroit and live your life fully.”
Sophia Khan, Canton junior, worked for the MEDC and is president of the LiveWorkDetroit! campus organization, and her first thoughts when she thinks of Detroit are of the fun things you can do in the city.
“I see Detroit as a ‘Live, work, and play’ kind of place,” Khan said. “Most people don’t think about Detroit when thinking about where to go to have fun, but it’s not a bad place to be. That’s why we have students working for LiveWorkDetroit!, because it’s easier to change the minds of young people about Detroit when other young people tell them about it.”
The speakers and Khan were all excited about the direction Detroit is headed.
“The next big thing in Detroit is a million little things,” Pierce said. “The start-ups, entrepreneurships and young people in the city are going to be big. The city reinvents itself every hundred years, and that time is now.”
Pierce closed the presentation with an emphasis on the importance of Detroit’s population size.
“People always ask me, ‘why Detroit,'” Pierce said. “It’s because it’s a city big enough to matter, but small enough for you to matter.”
Photo courtesy of Shawn Wilson, Wikimedia Commons