Millennials are finding KC a friendly place to be

You can find them where there’s live music, trendy food, an affordable home and a friendly environment where they feel they can make a difference. And in some very encouraging ways, both statistically and in the mysterious world of “buzz,” the Kansas City area is holding its own when it comes to appealing to the hot demographic called millennials. A study recently ranked us among the top 20 big U.S. metros when it came to adding young adults. It’s not just about being hip. Attracting those people born roughly between 1982 and 2004 is considered vital to the metro’s economic future. Just last week, MindMixer, an Omaha Web-hosting firm, announced it was moving to the Crossroads Arts District and creating 85 jobs, citing the area’s urban vibe and pool of tech-savvy people. To help further that favorable impression, the Kansas City Area Development Council launched a talent recruitment initiative to help local companies sell the area to young potential employees. Among its tactics is a scavenger hunt aimed at getting summer interns — brought to the area by big local corporations such as Hallmark, Cerner and Garmin — off the couch and discovering the charms of places including Brookside, Westport and the River Market. “We’re broadening our definition of what economic development is,” said Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the development council. “Attracting and retaining that talent is important to company growth. If we can’t get that right, our ability to grow companies is lost.” Having more young people around also makes this a better place to live for all generations. Mayor Sly James, whose streetcar push is particularly appealing to the millennials’ affinity for urban living, said keeping and adding that age group to the local mix was a formula for a better future. “The value and importance is that these are the people who’ll be energizing us,” he said. “We need that creative, young class to keep us sharp and keep us on the edge as we rapidly change.” When it comes to hard numbers, the area ranked 14th among the nation’s 51 metros with populations over a million when it came to adding young adults, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution. Read more here: BY KEVIN COLLISON The Kansas City Star]