Mar 06

Julia Rust: Millennials see no borders | Guest Columnist | pilotonline.com

ROUGHLY ONE in four professionals in Hampton Roads were born between 1980 and 2000.

By 2025, more than half of the workforce, about 75 percent, will be made up of millennials. There is no doubt that young professionals will play a significant role in the future of Hampton Roads.

The geographic division that separates the seven cities, however, is an inhibitor to fostering future generations’ influence in Hampton Roads. A house divided, many times over, further deepens the belief and in many cases, the reality.

Nowhere is that more evident than in economic development.

Cities compete with one another, even duplicating services and resources to bring new businesses into their locality, instead of seeing such campaigns from a regional and mutually beneficial perspective.

By combining resources, our region can more efficiently focus on larger issues of development, such as sea-level rise, health care research, fostering a competitive job market and sequestration.

This would create better alignment and unify us to collaborate. Traveling between the Oceanfront and Peninsula Town Center would seem less like a journey and more like an opportunity. Previous generations created the two main bridge-tunnels in our region to unify both sides of the water, not to divide them.

Knocking down borders is not accomplished overnight. Change is the progression of the people. tHRive, a cross-career, cross-interest young professional program of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, is one catalyst for that change, positioned to help business leaders reinvent Hampton Roads.

Because tHRive is led by millennials and serves millennials, the program’s reach is not limited by geographical borders. Instead, tHRive continues to engage with young professionals on the Peninsula and Southside alike.

This move reinforces our strong belief in the value of collaboration and combining of resources among our emerging leaders.

Uniting the cities of Hampton Roads under a common vision would allow us to support one another freely and create a more attractive professional and cultural marketplace.

As young professionals, we are focused on the retention of our peers, greater connectivity, the availability of training, support for young families, and world-class entertainment.

Pooling the political, social and economic capital together in this region will begin to eliminate those invisible borders and will help move us closer to building a mega region.

tHRive, in part, offers programs and events designed to develop, retain and attract talent.

The group is well on its way to being the professional and social hub for young professionals in Hampton Roads. tHRive will continue to serve as the bridge that connects businesses to young professionals throughout the region.

Source: Julia Rust: Millennials see no borders | Guest Columnist | pilotonline.com

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