Culture / Events

Millennial Summit: It’s about Delaware’s economic future

A dispatch from Tuesday's daylong conference.

Mill Summit presenters share tips from the stage. (Photo by Anitra Johnson)

The fastest growing population in Delaware are seniors aged 60 and above. But at the Millennial Summit, held at the Chase Center, the focus was getting members of the Millennial Generation, not Baby Boomers, invested in working, living and remaining in the First State. Why?
Because as Delaware’s population ages, millennials (roughly those born from 1982–2002) will be needed to maintain and drive productivity, and grow the state’s economy, as panelist Kia Ervin explained head-on.
“It’s an economic development issue,” Ervin, the executive director of Accelerate Delaware, said. “As Baby Boomers retire, you need qualified people to take those jobs and continue the leadership of the state.”
And while U.S. News & World Report ranks Delaware 9th out of the top 10 states experiencing the fastest population growth of millennials between the ages of 25 and 29, the state’s largest city, Wilmington, continues to suffer from population loss and struggles to keep millennials interested in sticking around.
So what was Wilmington mayor Mike Purzycki’s takeaway?
“We’ve got to change our reputation from a corporate environment to something that’s a little bit more exciting, and certainly receptive to the Millennial Generation,” said Purzycki. “We have to create an appealing environment; we have to have amenities that young people like.”
Purzycki said plans to bring more options that millennials would embrace are already underway, including reaching out to restaurant owners in Philadelphia in an attempt to replicate Philly’s reversal of population decline with the help of a robust dining scene.
Millennials value well-paying jobs, cultural diversity and entertainment and dining options as much as they value community participation, and this event was the perfect opportunity for them to participate in creation of the lifestyle they desire, said #MillSummit co-organizer Charles Vincent. The premise of the event was to invite young people to learn about different organizations, in and out of the state, that could offer ideas, inspiration or opportunity for millennials, so they won’t have to leave the state to for it.
“The idea was so that the different attendees can get excited about what they hear and actually take action on it, by getting involved with some of the groups they heard from,” Vincent said.

David Kubacki of the Viadel Consulting Group and Charlie Vincent, co-organizer of the Mill Summit. (Photo by Anitra Johnson)

David Kubacki of the Viadel Consulting Group and Charlie Vincent, co-organizer of the Mill Summit. (Photo by Anitra Johnson)

Christian Jackson, 17, a student at Laurel High School certainly found the day worthwhile — despite being on the young end of the Millennial age range. “It’s been really insightful and a good learning experience, since I want to grow as a leader around my peers.”
He says the summit has helped him become aware of the importance of self-promotion on Instagram and Facebook, time management and being committed, “invested and not slacking,” Jackson said. The young millennial said he has no plans to leave Delaware, and if he did leave he would come back.
If you didn’t get chance to make it to this year’s summit, there will be more opportunities to get involved throughout the year. You can go to the Millennial Summit’s website to learn about opportunities and get connected to the groups that participated.

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