(i)cleveland connects college students to city's live, work and play opportunities

The current generation of soon-to-graduate college students is not just looking for a job, but also a fun and dynamic city that suits its lifestyle needs, says Christy Walkuski, director of (i)Cleveland.

This reality is the impetus behind an upcoming city-centric event hosted by Cleveland Leadership Center. On January 4, (i)Cleveland, a program of the leadership center, will welcome 150 college students and recent graduates to connect with career, civic and social opportunities in Cleveland.

The Winter Edition event will include a networking lunch with downtown executives, a meet with Cleveland's entrenched young professional community, behind-the-scenes tours of East 4th Street's amenities, and an "employer showcase" of current internship and job opportunities.

Combining job and leadership possibilities with highlights of Cleveland lifestyle trumpets a single, distinct message: "The city wants you here," says Walkuski. "Young people have the ability to make their mark on Cleveland."

Walkuski has read the worrisome headlines about young people leaving Northeast Ohio for the bright lights of bigger cities. The (i)Cleveland director herself lived in Chicago and Florida before returning to her home city.

"When I came back, I saw Cleveland with new eyes," says Walkuski.

Opening the eyes of college students requires a community-wide effort. The "Winter Edition" program aligns with (i)Cleveland's mission of using local assets to build relationships and foster lifelong civic engagement. Registration is limited, so Walkuski suggests prospective participants sign up as soon as possible.

"We have a huge education base here," she says. "We must continue to engage this (college-aged) population, because if we don't recruit them, someone else will."

SOURCE: Christy Walkuski
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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