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GBCC Reintroduces City Awake

October 03, 2017

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is excited to reintroduce City Awake as the Chamber’s program to invest in the next generation of greater Boston leaders, offering a unique platform for young professionals to bring their voices and ideas to important civic and economic issues. The repositioning combines the Chamber’s existing Young Professionals Network – which was launched in 2015 – with City Awake. In 2016, the Chamber first partnered with City Awake, then an independent program focused on social enterprise and facilitating civic dialogue among Boston’s young adults.

Now merged together under the City Awake name, the program seeks to empower next generation leaders through community-building programming and engage young professionals in dialogue about the most pressing issues facing our region. Ultimately, the goal of City Awake is to deepen young professionals’ connections to the broader business and civic communities, while also celebrating their important contributions to the region’s economy. 

Greater Boston as a whole has no real program aimed at the development, engagement and retention of our young professional population, yet our economy is, in large part, positioned around our reputation for an unbeatable, innovative and talented workforce. With City Awake’s expanded direction, we hope to fill some of that void, by engaging deeper both inside our own member companies and out to really capture, advance and celebrate the perspectives and contributions of young professionals in our business, civic and political discourse.

- James E. Rooney, President & CEO, Greater Boston Chamber

“With our relaunch, we want to show that the Chamber’s young professional efforts go so much further than just convening,” said Justin Kang, founder and executive director of City Awake, and the Chamber’s vice president of economic growth. “This is about connecting with a purpose: we’re forging partnerships across sectors and activating the next generation of talent so that they build deep roots in our region while they’re working alongside established leaders to advance solutions to key public policy issues impacting young professionals.”

“Cultivating and retaining a talented workforce is a key issue for the Chamber’s membership,” said Navjot Singh, board chair for the Greater Boston Chamber and Managing Partner for the Boston Office of McKinsey & Company. “The City Awake program is an excellent way for our business community to show young professionals that we are invested in their development, that we are listening to their concerns and, more importantly, that we value their ideas about how to best position Greater Boston for long term success.”

City Awake programming includes:

  • Speaker Series, such as Words of Wisdom from Greater Boston senior leaders representing all sectors, such as former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Margaret Marshall and former U.S. Senator Mo Cowan;
  • Lunches on Leadership with other young leaders such as Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley and Managing Director of the Boston Globe, Linda Pizzuti Henry;
  • Ten Outstanding Young Leaders (TOYL) Awards which recognize the contributions of current and emerging young leaders who have demonstrated professional, personal and civic commitment to improving the quality of life in our region;
  • Our Convention for the Next Generation, which is the largest convening for millennials in Greater Boston attracting 500 emerging leaders to discuss the important issues facing our region;
  • Networking Nights designed to connect young professionals with one another in a relaxed setting;
  • Camp City Awake, a weekend-long retreat that connects next-generation leaders in finding solutions to social and policy issues impacting Greater Boston.

Beyond programming, City Awake also works with the Chamber’s Public Policy team and other partners to examine and shine light on policy issues affecting young professionals such as affordable housing, transportation and economic opportunity to make an impact on these issues through informative reports, insightful panel discussions and other creative projects. Their first report, produced in partnership with the Boston Foundation, was City of Millennials: Improving the Future Prospects of our Region and its Young AdultsThe report provides an overview and analysis of trends among Greater Boston’s young adult population and examines key findings from a survey of local millennials.   

According to a 2017 Boston Planning and Development Agency report, among the 25 most populous US cities, Boston has the highest concentration of 20-24 year olds, and residents between the ages of 18 and 34 make up nearly 40 percent of the city’s total population. In addition, young adults aged 25 to 34 are some of the city’s most educated, with 67 percent having a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to twenty percent of all residents 25 and over.

When you look at who is coming and going in a given year in Boston, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 make up 70 percent of our new arrivals and 63 percent of those leaving. Through City Awake, we want to get that second number down by connecting these young leaders to one another and their city in a way that keeps them invested in seeing Greater Boston succeed far into the future. 

- Jim Rooney