While the definition can vary, a young professional is generally characterized as someone between the ages of 21 and 40 who is career and civic-minded and currently employed or seeking employment in a profession that offers stability and growth.
In Northern Michigan, there are several organizations that cater to the growing demographic. Northern Michigan young professionals organizations work to attract and retain talent in the area and offer opportunities to network, volunteer and make friends in the community.
Traverse City Young Professionals (TCYP), a program of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, has 110 current members growing from 60 members in 2015. “People are really energized about the group,” says Lauren Harris, the TCYP chair. While TCYP offers networking opportunities within the group, Lauren is also focused on connecting young professionals with other people in the community. “It’s important for us to get out and engage,” she says.
TCYP hosts various events each month such as Morning Brew and Lunch & Learn. Morning Brew is a members-only event that’s held once a month. The hour-long meeting allows young professionals to engage with a local community leader. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more about programs in our community and to also give our feedback,” Lauren says. “It’s a two-way conversation. We can help shape our area for the future and, in turn, attract more young professionals.” Members have had the chance to talk with Traverse City Chief of Police Jeffrey O’Brien and will be talking soon with Traverse City Area Public Schools Superintendent Paul Soma.
Lunch & Learn is held four times a year and is open to all young professionals in the area. “The presentation is short and sweet and really beneficial,” Lauren says. The event includes lunch and an hour-long professional development lesson. For example, a previous event was done on emotional intelligence and how to be aware of and express emotions at work.
In addition to networking and professional development opportunities, TCYP also volunteers at the State Theatre and with Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement is a statewide program that works to inspire and prepare young people to succeed. Volunteers work with K-12 students and teach them real-world skills such as how to balance a checkbook and apply to college. “It’s a way for us to give back to future generations,” Lauren says. “We’ll be doing lessons in professional etiquette which includes things like creating a resume or writing an effective email.”
Not in Traverse City? There are several Northern Michigan young professionals organizations including Boyne Area Young Professionals, Young Professionals From the Heart of Northern Michigan, and 40 Below Marquette County Young Professionals.
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