A first step in keeping young talent in Lafayette is connecting with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and “rolling out the red carpet” to ensure those people feel welcome.
Maggi Bienvenu with One Acadiana and Carlee Alm-LaBar with the William C. Schumacher Family Foundation spoke at a Wednesday Lunch & Learn session about how to make the city more inviting to young talent and how an arms race has evolved among cities around the country to invest in bringing young professional to live. The session was sponsored by Downtown Lafayette Unlimited.
Other cities have been more successful in convincing young talent to relocate there, speakers said. Some, including Tulsa, Oklahoma, have gone as far as offering a large stipend to people to move there. In Ruston, the city offered $10,000 to Louisiana Tech and Grambling State graduates to move back.
In Lafayette, where business leaders have been engaged in a months-long effort to make the city more attractive to young professionals, that could start with forming a stronger partnership with UL Lafayette and its graduates.
“We want to make sure we’re rolling out the red carpet,” said Alm-LaBar, who, along with Bienvenu, attended the Young, Smart & Local conference that included representatives from 50 cities all working to establish diverse young talent.