VIEWPOINT: Carpe diem -- In GF, young professionals seize the day
Many people and organizations have made a big difference in Grand Forks. Some have worked with government leaders, especially members of the City Council, and organizations such as the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. to help attract...
Many people and organizations have made a big difference in Grand Forks. Some have worked with government leaders, especially members of the City Council, and organizations such as the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. to help attract new businesses to Grand Forks.
Others have taken up the role played by the private developer, the true entrepreneur in Grand Forks. Entrepreneurs often are thought of only as people who start businesses from scratch. But, established businesses - when they change the way they do business or add new elements - also can be entrepreneurs.
We need to acknowledge the efforts of these entrepreneurs. The effect of these efforts is much greater than most people realize. Had they not done what they have, there would be many fewer jobs in Grand Forks. I can prove that and plan on doing so in an upcoming column.
In addition, Grand Forks - mainly because of UND - has become the home of a significant number of companies created by young entrepreneurs. Some are just one-person companies, and some have several employees.
Existing companies also have created many of the positions for young professionals. For example, banks, architectural firms and engineering firms (as well as many others) have created many new professional positions as they have expanded.
Together, these efforts have created many professional jobs in Grand Forks. These positions are generally filled by young people - young professional people.
They are a new generation, and as with many new generations through time, they wanted something different. The free market understood this and created the business part of what they wanted.
But, for many of these young people, something still was missing - something they regarded as important.
Actually, it was a combination of things. The young professionals wanted what could be called an informal way to get information about things that were becoming important to their lives. For example, if you worked in health care or media, you might be interested in how a mortgage worked because you were considering buying a house or condominium. How would a mortgage obligate you?
Socially, as one young professional told me, every six months she was losing another friend. She had limited ways to meet others. She knew by the statistics that these people were out there; she just couldn't find them, at least in a way acceptable to her.
As much as Grand Forks residents are happy to call this city home, we have to admit that it can be isolating. Grand Forks does not offer as much as other, generally larger, metropolitan areas can. This has been a serious problem in keeping our young professionals here.
Then, this young professional (with the help of a few friends and her boss) solved the problem, as this new generation so often does.
The group formed an organization called the Grand Forks Young Professionals. The organization is not part of any other that already existed, although at times they are willing or will even ask to work with existing organizations.
Sometimes, this organization will have a meeting where they invite a banker to explain business questions. Sometimes, they simply tell their members that beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, they'll meet at a particular place for a friendly social time. As this has developed, they also have had what is sometimes called "Hale and Farewell," where they welcome new people and bid goodbye to someone who is leaving. They also have involved their organization in different social events around the city.
These young professionals are filling an important void in their lives. They have done it on their own because that is the way they wanted to do it.
I am impressed by this new generation. Whenever they see a problem in their lives, they step out and solve it. In this case, these young professionals have created an organization that will give them a more satisfying life in Grand Forks. That means they are more likely to stay here.
For our future, Grand Forks needs these people. They deserve our support.