“It’s very affordable to live in the Dayton area,” she said. “We have a really diverse economy. There are a lot of opportunities, not only to get started as a young professional here in the Dayton area, but a lot of opportunity for growth.”
Doug Barry, the owner of Dayton temporary services staffing company BarryStaff, echoed that sentiment, adding that the recent wave of developments in the downtown area has likely made the city more enticing for young people.
“I know a lot of the younger generation is aspiring to live in the urban center of wherever it is that they’re locating to,” Barry said. “Housing downtown makes it attractive to the younger generation, (along with) the amenities that go along with it that they’ve been able to build up around the downtown core.”
Jocelin Dean, a member of the chamber’s young professionals networking group called Generation Dayton, added that Dayton’s appeal extends beyond the downtown area.
“There’s a whole lot for me to experience in Dayton,” said Dean, who is a work-site developer at Sinclair Community College. “We have a lot of great suburbs with their own historic downtowns, but there’s not so much here that I feel like I could never experience it all in one lifetime.”
Evelyn Ritzi, another Generation Dayton member and communications specialist at the Ohlmann Group, said it’s important for recent college graduates looking to start their career in Dayton to develop a diverse collection of business contacts.
“I would say absolutely get connected with a young professionals group,” she said. “Being a millennial, we’re usually the youngest people in an office environment. Getting involved with a group, you’re going to meet people from all different industries and (see) the different perspectives they bring to the table.”
The goal for the city of Dayton is not just to attract young people for the years immediately after they’ve graduated college, but to keep them in the region for the long haul. Generation Dayton, has made strides toward accomplishing this task.
(The aim of that group) is not only helping them grow as professionals, but also connecting them with one another and with our more seasoned business leaders through the chamber of commerce,” Allen said.
She continued, noting that although progress has been made, the job is far from finished.
“It’s done really well in keeping some of our young talent here in Dayton,” Allen said. “I think what we can be doing in a more collaborative way is marketing our region with a more unified voice.”
Dayton’s Chamber of Commerce will be partnering with Livability Media to produce new digital material intended to better integrate millennials and Gen Z into Dayton’s professional environment. The new content will go live in July and will showcase the positive aspects of the Dayton region.
For anyone living in Dayton, however, the city is more than just a workplace — it’s a home. Barry said that for him, Dayton hits the sweet spot between small town and booming metropolis.
“It’s big enough if you want to get lost and be a number,” he stated. “But it’s small enough that people care about (each) person and that you can really make an impact in this city.”