City & nonprofit hope to keep millennials in WF

(Source:KAUZ)
(Source:KAUZ)

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The Young Professionals of Wichita Falls and the city's Chamber of Commerce teamed up to inform millennials about the city's bond election.

Tuesday night at Midwestern State University, students and members of the Young Professionals of WF went over the seven bond propositions they can vote on right now.

Shannon Coppage, President of the Young Professionals of WF, said the non-profit's goal is to help grow leaders, and she hopes growing the city will get them to stay here in town.

Henry Florsheim, President of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, said reaching out to this demographic is necessary

"For starters, they're our voters and these are the future workers.  These are the people that we are interested in attracting and retaining," said Florsheim.

Like Mario Ramirez, an MSU graduate.

"I'm from Fort Worth.  I ended up coming to school here, and I ended up staying here," said Ramirez. "So I've been here for ten years now."

He said seeing the city revitalized is inspiring.

"Just seeing the growth here in Wichita Falls shows me where the city is going, and it's just exciting to be a part of that," said Ramirez.

However, it is no secret not everyone is like Ramirez and chooses to stay.  Many students leave after graduation or before.

"We have a lot of attractive things about Midwestern, but the retention rate is kind of lower because people claim there's nothing to do," said Tyler Manning, a senior at MSU.

A problem city leaders feel is impacting the workforce.

Henry Florsheim said economic development has flipped because people use to follow the jobs, but now they pick the city they want to live in first.

"We've got hundreds of jobs that our employers cannot fill today, and so we need our young professionals to understand that there will be opportunities for you here," said Florsheim.

He said they will help them find or create opportunities, adding they have the power to come in and make a difference.

"We are big enough to matter, but we are small enough to change," said Florsheim.

But change cannot happen without votes.

"We're one of the largest demographics, and we have a lot of power, but you have to get out there and vote to use that power," said Coppage.

Early voting continues until May 1.  Election day is May 5.

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