GNO Inc. works to help the region’s millennials develop into leaders

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) – In New Orleans, there’s a parallel focus: the present and the future.

“Cultivating the next generation of leaders is actually one of our explicit long-term policies right up there with reforming taxes and improving international flights at the airport,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc.

Abby Corrington sat outside an eatery Thursday afternoon. She is working towards her Ph.D.

“Millennials are entering the workforce at an increasing rate, right? We’re coming of age right now, and so I definitely think it’s important for the livelihood of the city that it’s bringing, attracting companies and industries who do attract millennials,” she said.

On Friday, GNO Inc. holds a summit called Emerge at the Ace Hotel in New Orleans. Hundreds of young professionals will hear innovative ideas for both personal and career growth. Already GNO Inc. is using millennials’ growing affinity for New Orleans as a selling point when working to attract new businesses and economic development.

“When we’re selling to companies that want to hire young people, we just tell them what the numbers are saying and that is that millennials are voting with their feet. The New Orleans region was number five in the country over the past five years in attracting people 25 to 34 years old,” said Hecht.

He thinks he knows what’s driving the attraction.

“The reason why they’re choosing New Orleans I think is what I call the three Cs. First C is low-cost, we’re still below the national average, in terms of overall cost of living. The second C is high-culture – that speaks for itself. The third C is connection,” Hecht said.

And what is happening in the city tech-wise remains impressive.

“We are statistically the fastest-growing tech cluster in the entire country,” said Hecht.

And like older adults, the millennials we spoke to care a lot about affordable housing and affordable health care.

“People my age are concerned – will we be priced out of this city, particularly from the Central Business District,” said Thomas Krouse.

“Social issues, that’s getting a lot of media coverage, climate change,” Corrington said.

“I’ve been encouraged to see that for the millennials being engaged is almost a core value for them, so I think that having this event is a real natural thing to do,” added Hecht.

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