A makeover for Millennials — Chamber looks at ways to get young  workers to live in Fayette

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Fayette County Chamber of Commerce President Colin Martin. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Fayette County Chamber of Commerce President Colin Martin. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Fayette County has a lot going for it, and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce wants the future to be even more successful. Arriving at ideas to accomplish that goal was the focus of the roll-out for the Talent Attraction and Retention Strategy meeting held May 28 at the chamber office in Fayetteville, and attended by chamber business members, local government representatives and educators.

Chamber President Colin Martin in describing the county’s next step in writing its story said community participation is needed in exploring the three areas of Housing and Development, Workforce Development Tactics, and Arts, Entertainment and Culture. Those areas are key to determining what Fayette’s future will hold.

Noting a corporate survey, Martin said employment talent today is more mobile, and employees choose where they want to live. With that current reality, companies are paying attention, Martin added.

Driving home that point, and looking strictly at the metro Atlanta area, Martin quoted a recent assessment showing that 2.3 million sq. ft. of corporate office space has moved from outside I-285 to inside the perimeter.

Martin asked those interested in participating to sign up to work on the three target areas, with the idea being to develop a talent attraction and retention strategy to be presented to the community later this year.

Much of the presentation dealt with where Fayette County is today, with Martin referencing everything from commute times, to housing and transportation costs to the unrelenting reality that Fayette’s age demographic is growing older.

That mention was in-line with research by The Citizen in 2018 showing that of Georgia’s 10 most affluent counties, Fayette significantly topped the list with the largest percentage of people aged 65 and above, while scoring the lowest for the number of residents age 18 and younger.

Another fact noted by Martin that should be a wake-up call for Fayette’s future was a national study looking at the years 2007-2014. It was during those years that Fayette County saw 31 percent of its millennials leave the county and not return. That percentage placed Fayette as leading counties nationwide in that unfortunate category. It should be noted that millennials today encompasses those aged 22-37, the age where most people are starting, or already started, having children.

Chamber Workforce and Development Director Megan Dean in her comments bolstered the reality that it is the younger people, including those still in school, that Fayette must pay attention to, both today and in the future.

Martin said the chamber would focus on recruiting its members for the three study areas and would be taking the presentation to local civic groups and clubs. Others interested in participating can contact chamber Workforce and Development Director Megan Dean at 770-461-9983, ext. 203 Megan@FayetteChamber.org.

6 COMMENTS

  1. We should not be catering to so-called “Millenials”. Aside from the lack of rigorous evidence that Millenials actually exist (at least as defined by Strauss-Howe Generational Theory), most studies indicate that they’re economically non-viable as a target demographic. You’re going to work to attract a generation for which the stereotype is that they don’t want to work, don’t save money, are always broke, and spend their money on avacado toast and kombucha? What would that even look like?

    A more viable plan would not be hyperfocused on one specific demographic, but rather a specific lifestyle which is generally desired across generational cohorts.

    https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/why-targeting-millennial-consumers-might-not-be-such-a-hot-idea-after-all/

    • I think they exist, Andrew but maybe not huge quantities within the extreme stereotype. They certainly exist as occupants of space and users of oxygen of a certain age where they should be both consumers and contributors to our great country.

      But the reason I earlier used and emphasized the word IF is that IF we want to attract them here is that I’m not sure we (as a county) do want that. It may or may not be worth the compromises and certainly if put to a vote today the answer would be that they are not worth the effort. 30 years from now? Probably a different result.

      My point is – think it thru and IF you are convinced these millennials are worth having here and that they want to come here and that they will both consume and contribute – go for it IF that’s what’s best for the county. In other words think it thru, do some research and IF you are going to do something like that – do it right.

      And by doing it right I mean the entire county. No one city in the county should have the extreme arrogance to assume it can create an oasis for millennials in a vast desert of a 1980’s style commuter community.

  2. My son (25 years old; grew up in FC) rents a 2-1 house in Brookhaven. It’s a really small house, built in the late 40s/early 50s. The rent is $1300, he has a yard, a dog, a garden and a nice deck. When asked, he replied, why would he pay the same for a 1 bedroom apt in F-ville where it takes pretty much an hour to get anywhere? He has easy access to his job and all that ATL has to offer. And he’s still not far from the mountains and/or beaches.

    • Single folks don’t want to be here, we can dress it up all we like but you can’t create cool and hip, it has to be curated. My sister is a millennial and wants to move to PTC badly because she has kids and wants a quiet safe community with good schools, she doesn’t care about “hip” and trendy. Let’s focus on what we are successful with family friendly neighborhoods

  3. People moved to Fayette County to get away from the stuff in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Marietta…traffic traffic traffic..We have Craft Beer at Line Creek, cool restaurants and now a bunch of new Apartments in Fayetteville. Most of us moved to a bedroom community and want it to stay that way.

  4. Colin you are on the right track. You understand the things that need to be considered IF (IF is restated for emphasis since I can’t make it BOLD) we want to attract millennials to Fayette County.

    Your 3 categories are right on
    1. Housing
    2. Jobs/Workforce
    3. Culture/Entertainment

    Solutions are easy. Any millennial will tell you.Here goes:

    1. Housing – need almost 3,000 more rental units
    2. Workforce – need public transportation to and from airport and downtown Atlanta. Nobody believes that Google or Amazon will be moving here, so we will mostly be a bedroom/commuter community. Maybe do a charter school that has a film and entertainment focus since we have Pinewood here. That would help locals get jobs here and show we are serious about this.
    3. Culture – need trendy bars and restaurants, Craft beer and wine, gathering places for mobs. Also protest venues.

    Problems:
    1. 80% of residents think rentals and high density are pure evil and even cause crime.
    2. Public transportation? Surely you jest. Charter school – great idea.
    3. Trendy stuff is emerging and it is great. Even a bowling alley is coming for non-serious bowlers.This is the easiest since the marketplace can make this happen without government participation.

    So there Colin, there it is neatly packaged for you. Print this out and take it to County Commission and if you are still standing after that, visit PTC City Council and the Fayette school board.