engage! cleveland launches weeklong series of yp-friendly events

Talent attraction/retention nonprofit Engage! Cleveland has officially kicked off a series of Cleveland-friendly social activities and professional development opportunities through its first annual Cleveland Young Professionals Week.

The weeklong succession of cost-free events aimed at the youthful and talented began Monday and will continue through Oct. 11, says Engage! Cleveland executive director Ashley Basile Oeken. Each day will feature a variety of around-the-clock happenings on both the East and West Side, including fitness classes at local studios, speaker-centric "lunch-and-learn" programs, and nightly networking get-togethers. That's 25 events over six days, if you're counting.

"You hear about other cities and how they've engaged young professionals," says Basile Oeken. "We wanted a signature event to put our name on."

Programming is generally aimed at people age 21 to 40, although the nonprofit is inclusive of anyone who considers themselves a YP. Events are filling up, notes Basile Oeken, so if you're interested in a spinning class at Harness Cycle or listening to a talk by PlayhouseSquare president Art Falco, it's best to act fast.

Basile Oeken views Engage! Cleveland's first-ever CLE YP Week as a chance to show off everything the city has to offer, whether to a lifelong resident or someone who moved here a month ago. Attracting and retaining young talent means linking it to influential leaders and local organizations, she believes.

"It's acclimating people to how much is going on in Cleveland," says Basile Oeken. "There's an opportunity to get everyone living in this community to support it collectively."

While programming will end with a closing party at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the nonprofit director expects the energy generated by a week's worth of events to resonate throughout the year.

"If you're involved, Cleveland can sell itself," Basile Oeken says. "People are more likely to stay when they're engaged."
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