WILMINGTON — Some say Millennials get a bad reputation, from obscure viral trends to being blamed for a number of societal problems, but the City of Wilmington is now thinking about bridging the gap between millennials and other generations.
On Monday, Special Assistant to the City Manager Tony McEwen presented City Council with the possibility of creating a Millennial Advisory Committee during the council’s agenda review meeting.
“This is not to set aside any one age group or demographic in this community above anyone else. I think merely I would like to shine a light on some of the changing demographics and what the future holds,” he said.
McEwen said he believes it is in the city’s best interest for leaders to engage in dialogue with millennials. The idea for the committee is not completely unique; McEwen got the idea from following the lead of others.
“Due to changing trends in the workforce especially evident in millennials, there is a growing need for cities to revamp their efforts to market to this segment of the population for the future success of their community,” he said.
What is a millennial?
McEwen explained millennials are those aged 22-37, meaning they were born between 1981 and 1996. The median age of a millennial is 25, he said.
There are several characteristics of millennials, according to McEwen’s presentation he based on a Pew study.
Millennials are hyperconnected, “they are connected to anyone across the globe that has a device,” he said.
Millennials are also hyper-collaborative, meaning they focus on a sharing community, which emphasizes paying by use instead of buying individual items. This can be seen in the exponential growth of ride-sharing applications like Uber.
The last characteristic McEwen claims is a trademark of millennials is the value of community. When it comes to choosing a career, millennials seek out jobs where they feel they can make a difference.
“It might not just be about making a living for 25-years at one particular company,” he said.
Why should Wilmington care?
According to McEwen, growing cities need to market themselves to the millennial generation to help increase opportunities to connect with the fastest growing population segment.
“We find that millennials, more than any other segment of society are valuing place over career. This means that, often times, millennials will decide on a location they would like to live before deciding what they will do there,” he said.
If City Council wanted to move forward with a millennial advisory committee, McEwen believes the group could assist in sharing Wilmington’s story with other members of their generation. It would also empower millennial advocates for the city, as well as find creative solutions for a number of problems or situations.
City leaders discussed the possibility of forming some sort of millennial advisory committee, along with the benefits of such a board. While no action was taken during the meeting, there is the possibility of McEwen’s idea becoming reality.
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