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Gen-Z isn’t moving to Michigan anytime soon

Real estate website Zillow has more than a passing interests in people’s migration habits, so it should surprise no one that Zillow took on the task of analyzing where Gen-Z adults are choosing to live. If you think that California is a Zoomer’s paradise, you’re mistaken. The state Gen Z finds most enchanting: Texas.

California wasn’t completely left out in the cold; the Golden State saw nearly 50,000 new Zoomers make California their new home. Washington, Colorado, and Virginia also did well among newly minted adults.

Only one state lost out on net migration among Zoomers, and that was Michigan. Michigan was the only state that recorded more young adults leaving than moving in. The total loss to the Great Lakes State was nearly 3,000. That’s going to be a problem for us in the coming years.

What attracts young adults to a state? Job opportunities. Texas offers the best job opportunities for young adults. If it’s all about the employment opportunities, what does that say about Michigan? There aren’t enough attractive employment opportunities here to make our young adults want to stay, and there aren’t enough working opportunities here to attract young adults from elsewhere.

This is one of the impacts when community colleges willfully choose not to develop new academic programs. In the absence of new training opportunities, Michigan misses out on employers who want or need an educated workforce. Michigan misses out on the chance to attract new industries. And we miss out on the chance to hang onto our educated workforce because after they finish school there’s nowhere to go but elsewhere.

Community colleges shouldn’t wait for other agencies to attract employers and industries. In fact, community colleges can drive strategic economic development.

How many Gen-Z adults did the Fitness Center cost Washtenaw County?

The Health and Fitness Center at WCC cost about $15M to build. By the time all of the bonds are paid off, the cost to build the facility will have mushroomed to nearly $25M. When you factor in all of the additional costs of operating and maintaining the building, the expensive repairs to the pools and locker room facilities, and the premature aging of the building due to poor quality construction combined with over-subscription prior to the pandemic, the costs rise even farther.

Had WCC remained focused on its mission, what kind of programs and facilities could it have developed with $25M-$30M? What new academic programs could WCC have added to its catalog? What kind of facilities could the students have had at their disposal? And what kind of services could WCC have provided to its students?

The WCC Board of Trustees cannot seriously cry and whine about the amount of money the State of Michigan provides when they have deliberately wasted millions of dollars on duplicating taxpayer-funded facilities that were already available in Washtenaw County. And worse, this duplication had absolutely nothing to do with education. WCC’s initial plan for the Health and Fitness Center excluded the students.

While the State of Texas has been busy creating, finding, and exploiting economic development opportunities. WCC bought itself a private health club. How much of Washtenaw County’s future did the WCC Board of Trustees waste by building the Health and Fitness Center? Whose opportunities did they trade away? How many of them will end up in Texas?

Photo Credit: ***Karen , via Flickr