Millennial 2020 facilitates Millennial engagement with Vision 2020, an initiative by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. In the spring of 2012, Millennial 2020 asked 2,716 Millennials in Northeast Indiana for their thoughts on the region’s greatest assets and biggest challenges. The information below is the top seven conclusions that came out of what Millennials said.
What do you like most about Northeast Indiana?
It is important to know where you are before you decide where you are going, so we asked Millennials what they liked most about Northeast Indiana. The majority of Millennials like Northeast Indiana’s aesthetic qualities like lakes, parks and rivers, social offerings such as concerts, events and places to engage in social interaction. Popular “other” responses were: all of the above, cost of living, education, environment, family, leisure activities, small town feel and sports.
Imagine the best possible Northeast Indiana Region. What qualities would it possess?
We wanted Millennials to get creative with this question. We wanted to know, if the choice was up to the Millennials, what would Northeast Indiana look like? The top responses were leisure and recreation, environment, aesthetics, and urban vibrancy. Millennials want places they can go to have fun, hang out with friends and are green. They like to be in places where crowds gather and where opportunities to engage in social activities occur. Millennial 2020 provides opportunities for young adults in the region to connect.
What challenges must be addressed to create the best Northeast Indiana?
There are always obstacles to creating change. We wanted to know where Millennials thought those challenges were. The majority said there was a lack of opportunity for career advancement, support for young entrepreneurs, and a lack of places you could go to find resources to help you be successful. As a way to combat this, Millennial 2020 offers opportunities to network with other Millennials and business and community leaders.
Also, although it was third, many Millennials also feel that we have a lack of openness to new ideas, new cultures, and diversity. Popular “other” responses include: all of the above, education, government, infrastructure, leisure, and social offerings.
What actions, big or small, could you take to make a difference in Northeast Indiana?
Change can only occur when individuals step up to the plate and make things happen. We wanted Millennials to take charge of their story, which is why we asked what they could do to make a difference. Two responses were substantially higher than others: community involvement and environment. Millennials like engagement and want to feel attached to their community. In order to create that attachment, Millennials want to be more involved in their community. They want to help make the big decisions and use their education and experience to create change. As a way for them to make decisions, we have placed two Millennials from the Millennial Leaders Alliance on the Regional Opportunities Council, the leadership body of Vision 2020. These Millennials get to vote on the regional priorities and make big decisions for change.
Millennials also want to protect the environment. They want to help create more green spaces and prevent others from littering and ruining the aesthetic qualities of Northeast Indiana that they enjoy.
Intended level of Education for Millennials in Northeast Indiana
We asked each respondent to identify their current education status and identify what their intended education level was. Of the respondents, 94% percent said that they planned to go on to get some form of a post-secondary degree (Cert, 2-year, 4- year, Grad) and of the respondents, 86% said that they planned to get a 4-year or graduate degree. It is important to note that of the 94% above, 75% are 17 or younger.
The Retention rate of Millennials and the connection to education
Millennials tend to want to live in places where they feel they have a stake in what happens. Of the 2,716 respondents, 62% said that they do not plan to stay in Northeast Indiana. Of those 62%, 18.6% said it was due to a lack of opportunity and 13.1% said they were planning to attend college somewhere else. It is important to note that of the 62% that say they are leaving, 75% of them are 17 and under.
Aligned with Vision 2020 Efforts
The results of the survey prove that Millennials are aligned with Vision 2020 goals. Like Vision 2020, Millennials feel that 21St Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life are very important when determining where they want to live. Millennials want to see change in their community and some of the action steps that they identified were: community involvement, environmental duties like recycling and picking up litter, improving the education system or earning a degree, giving to local charities, creating jobs and supporting the local economy by buying local.