Cool Akron

Cleveland watches while Akron acts to attract youth.

Cleveland and Akron share almost everything: climate, economy, work force and culture. But Akron is taking a different approach to its future: Its leaders are educating themselves on how to attract and retain young people.

In an enlightened act of community outreach, the Greater Akron Chamber joined with young professionals groups such as Torchbearers, Artcetera and Young Professionals of Akron. They've also hired Next Generation Consulting's Rebecca Ryan, an economist in her early 30s, to map Akron's cool quotient and compare it to other cities. Her last visit in March drew 650 people, the largest crowd ever for a Greater Akron Chamber event.

Ryan reports the upcoming innovation economy will be driven by knowledge workers defined as "Generation X" (born 1961 to 1981) and "Millennials" (born 1982 to 2001), who are increasingly more diverse. They are skeptical, savvy, self-reliant free agents who first choose a place to live and then find a job. Surveys show that social capital and after-hours possibilities are more important to these mobile workers than earning power and a favorable cost of living.

While Cleveland bemoaned the draining of its young brains, the Greater Akron Chamber invited members of young professionals groups to join its board and hired Ryan to conduct a communitywide conversation that will result in a list of recommendations when she returns to Akron May 18.

This month, explore south of the Cuyahoga County border and enjoy the region's other fine orchestra, the Akron Symphony; visit the beautiful new Akron-Summit County Public Library; and check out the Greater Akron Chamber's kickoff of its marketing strategy to attract and retain young talent.

Secure your idea As if anticipating Greater Akron Chamber's effort to develop a more entrepreneurial culture, the Akron-Summit County Public Library has created a focus on patents and trademarks, which allows visitors to view full images of all patents granted since 1970. Sign up for a Patent and Trademark Seminar May 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., research trademark information or check out books on how to secure, develop and market your ideas. Main Library, 60 S. High St., Akron, (330) 643-9000,

Epic Legends Celebrate the grand finale of the Akron Symphony's 53rd season as it presents a program of epic power and beauty May 7 at 8 p.m. Enjoy Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" and selections from Wagner's "Ring Cycle" as Ya-Hui Wang conducts. E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St., Akron, (330) 972-7570,

Community Handprint Presentation Consultant Rebecca Ryan returns to Akron May 18 as a guest of the Greater Akron Chamber and Young Professionals of Akron. Ryan will present the results of her research on Akron's efforts to appeal to young people. For more information, visit or

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