Philadelphia is on the rise. The City of Brotherly Love is now home to the largest percentage of Millennials of any major city in the country, in addition to billions of dollars in construction projects throughout the greater Philadelphia region, Philly.com reported.
But there is an area that most Philadelphia residents agree would propel their city into competition with other metropolitan areas around the world: creating more jobs, which encompasses boosting the population and attracting successful businesses to the region. And what better time to bring jobs growth into the fray than in the lead-up to the mayoral elections on May 19?
While Millennials are the largest demographic in the city, getting the group to vote in local elections is a tall order. But by focusing on the ways local politics can improve their employment opportunities and make Philadelphia a more attractive place to live, that massive electoral group could mobilize enough to make a difference.
"Getting Millennials to vote in local elections is a tall order."
Millennials on the outside of the political spectrum
One of the obstacles in attracting young voters to the polls is the idea that politics don't work - that the results are too vague and undefinable, according to Philly.com. Millennials are more interested in volunteering and working for non-profits, rather than pushing an agenda through the political machine. But sometimes, that avenue is the best way to impact the changes young people want seen.
"We want to encourage Millennials to get involved so city government takes our concerns seriously," Matthew Fontana vice chairman of the Millennial-centered political action committee Philly Set Go, told Philly.com. Fontana cited education, job growth, and quality of life in the city as those concerns.
Part of the problem, according to Fontana, is that younger folks are unlikely to enter the political system because they find it daunting. But Philly Set Go wants to help Millennials navigate the system so they can work in local government and gain a foothold in those politics. With about 27 percent of the city's population and little direct representation in office, Millennials may stand to gain immensely by working in government.
"There is a ton of opportunity for the hard-working millennials to come into Fortune 1000 companies and make a name for themselves," offered Bryan Mulhern, Division Director of Beacon Hill Financial in Philadelphia. "It is just a matter of showing them the advantage of doing so and working with them to build their careers."
Philly to benefit from federal tech campaign
Millennials should look no further than the recently-launched TechHire initiative as proof that political motions can make a tangible impact. The Philadelphia Tribune reported that President Obama's tech-focused jobs campaign could cause an influx of technology opportunities in Philadelphia.
TechHire is an initiative that helps communities train individuals for lucrative IT jobs. The idea is that employers expand their hiring while federal funds grant more training for potential employees. Philly is one of 20 cities, states or communities that signed on to fill over 120,000 tech job positions. A coalition of major companies, city officials, non-profit groups and educators partnered to create PhIT for the Future, a program aimed at expanding the talent pool for IT employers. For their part, employers agreed to offer more paid internships and mentorship opportunities.
These opportunities are the result of a politically-based initiative - one that could land more Millennials in well-paying careers. It might also convince the younger age group that political involvement can work in their favor.
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