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Young professionals want to connect, make a difference

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Daily Journal Staff
June 26, 2008

A survey by Charleston Young Professionals found that its members want to connect to the community and make an impact on economic development in the region.

The CYP, an initiative of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, sought to find out what young professionals ages 22-39 saw as challenges and opportunities in developing the region as a place to work and live, as well as why they chose the area.

“We are in an aging nation, and the need to attract and retain talent is critical for Charleston and other communities to push through this trend,” CYP chairwoman Kellee McGahey said. “The hope is by CYP existing, more young professionals will feel empowered and will have an outlet to become actively involved and invested in the region and make Charleston a permanent home.”

The survey will be used to assess the chamber’s programming and help it develop information and tools for young professionals in the region. In the survey, members expressed concerns over the cost of living and affordability, lack of career opportunities and traffic and roads.

More than half of CYP’s membership took the survey; among the results:

– 75.4% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
– 32.0% earn $30,000-$40,000 a year.
– 39.2% live in West Ashley.
– 30.9% live in Mount Pleasant.
– 17.3% live on the peninsula.
– 57.3% own their own home.
– 49.5% chose where they live based on proximity to things to do.
– 43.7% chose where they live based on affordability.

For 72.6% of respondents, climate and environment were the top reasons young professionals are choosing to live in Charleston. Culture, history and living near friends also scored high for drawing young professionals to the area.

Of the members who responded, 21.4% were raised in the area and chose to stay; 61.2% are transplants.

The No. 1 reason young professionals would leave the area, with a 55% response, would be for a better job.

CYP was launched in August 2006 as a part of ForwardCharleston, a regional economic development strategy that recommended the region establish a network to increase the number of professionals ages 22-39 who live and work in Charleston. For more information, visit the organization’s Web site.

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