Mon 10/6 – Thu 10/11
For nearly a decade, Engage! Cleveland – through various incarnations – has boasted a simple mission statement with serious ramifications for Northeast Ohio: to attract, engage and retain young professionals in the Cleveland community.
Now the non-profit is upping the ante with its inaugural Cleveland Young Professionals Week, which takes place Mon 10/6 through Thu 10/11 around the region. Targeting the Rock Hall City’s millennials, the six-day affair – offering everything from exercise events and innovative speakers to volunteering opportunities and more – acts as a sales pitch to folks who already live here.
Each day during Cleveland Young Professionals Week participants can network at Rise & Grind Morning Workouts, Lunch & Learns and Network After Work events at Cleveland landmarks.
Cool Cleveland talked to Engage! Cleveland Executive Director Ashley Basile Oeken about the creative concept.
Cool Cleveland: What exactly is the idea behind Cleveland Young Professionals Week?
Ashley Basile Oeken: It’s a week-long series of events geared at better connecting young professionals in the community, and getting them really engaged. We have room for 1,800 people or slots.
Engage! Cleveland has been really focused on the attraction, engagement and retention of young professionals, and we thought this could be a really great way to both get the young professionals better acclimated to the community and get the community better acclimated to the young professional community. We thought we needed something that would really generate a lot of buzz and really get the word out there. We thought we needed something more than a singular event so we went with a week to really push the name and get it out there.
Why did you feel you needed something more than just a one-day event?
Generally speaking, we oftentimes hear from both sides of the spectrum. We’ll hear millennials say ‘I’m a young professional and really want to get involved in the community but I don’t know where to start.’ And then we’ll hear employers say ‘I have all of this young talent, I want to keep this talent, and I’m looking for ways to get them involved in the community.’
We’ll also hear from nonprofits saying ‘we have an aging board of directors, we know we need to engage the next generation and we’re looking to do that.’ There always seems to be a disconnect as to why those groups can’t seem to find each other so Engage! Cleveland has become this go-to resource to really help all of these different parties that are interested in young professionals connect. The ultimate goal is retention. If people are aware of all of the great assets we have in Cleveland and this great community they can get involved with, they decide to stay here and make Cleveland home.
Finally, do all signs point to Cleveland Young Professionals Week becoming an annual event?
I hope so. So far, so good. We’re seeing a lot of people sign up. I’d say the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
For more information about Cleveland Young Professional Week, visit http://engagecleveland.com.
When he’s not writing about music or entertainment, he can be found coaching his two boys in basketball, football and baseball or watching movies with his lovely wife, Maria. John also occasionally writes for CoolCleveland.com.