My writing on frontier tech and next-gen marketing

The new young professional question: Why not Cleveland?


Originally published on Crain’s Cleveland

A recent report in Axios showed three out of four technology workers are willing to relocate for a new job. Here's a message for young professionals considering a move: Come to Cleveland. I know what you're thinking. Cleveland? You must be joking. Isn't that the city best known for a river that caught on fire? Well, open-minded young professionals are discovering a case for Cleveland. Maybe you should, too.

Quality of life

Cleveland was recently named the best Midwest city for first-time home buyers. The average annual mortgage payment is only $5,016. For Ohioans, the cost of transportations and groceries are also significantly below national averages. The cost of transportation in Ohio is $6,511 while national averages were $9,576. The cost of groceries for an average Ohioan is $2.754 while the U.S. average is $4,363. As a comparison, our neighbors to the south in Columbus have an average annual mortgage payment of $10,896. This means more of your income will be leftover for fun. Good news: Cleveland has awesome places to have fun. The Cleveland Orchestra is ranked the seventh best orchestra in the world. Cleveland's Playhouse Square is the second largest performing arts center in the United States. And if you love world-class cuisine, you're in luck. Time magazine ranked Cleveland the seventh best food city in the United States. It's on the rise with amazing places to eat such as the West Side Market, Michael Symon's Lola Bistro, and James Beard winner Sokolowski's University Inn. And the city itself has so much amazing culture. You can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, walk around University Circle, or go to a concert at Blossom Music Center or Jacobs Pavilion. With all the savings you'll be making on housing, groceries and transportation, you'll actually be able to enjoy the city you live in.

Cleveland sports

While you're saving so much money, you'll be able to watch three professional sports teams. The Browns are the fifth-favored team to win the Super Bowl this year behind the star-studded partnership of Odell Beckham Jr. and Baker Mayfield. The Indians have a good chance of making the playoffs this year and, with exciting young players like Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado, they are expected to be a force in the years to come. Last, Cleveland is home to the team that won the 2016 NBA Championship, and the Cleveland Cavaliers just drafted an elite passer in Darius Garland. It's not just the teams themselves. The Cavaliers are getting an updated arena and Cleveland will be hosting a wide variety of national sporting events over the next few years such as the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, the 2020 NCAA Division 1 men's basketball tournament, 2021 NFL draft and the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. More importantly, win or lose. Cleveland residents are die-hard fans of their sports teams, and you'll immediately become one, too.

The ground floor

Between 2011 and 2013, Cleveland ranked eighth in the nation for a growth rate of college-educated millennials. Downtown Cleveland experienced a 76% increase in the population of people aged 25-34 between 2000-2012. Despite all the growth, Cleveland still has one of the lowest concentrations of millennials at 23.7%. Cleveland is trending younger, and companies and organizations around town are falling over themselves to attract and retain young talent. (Think: Your career will flourish in Cleveland.) If you are a driven young professional, you will be noticed. It's not the impersonal rat race found in other large cities; you will find the doors of leaders open that would be untouchable in a New York or a San Francisco. Unlike those places, Cleveland fosters a strong sense of civic pride that motivates residents to support each other. If you're smart, hardworking and willing to ask for help, C-suite execs, business owners and investors will go out of their way to help advance your career, not just because they are Midwest nice, but because they truly want you to succeed in Cleveland.

The future

It's not just about getting in on the ground floor, but also about selecting a city that can be your long-term home. Cleveland is a fantastic place to raise a family. And when you need health care, you'll find that Cleveland has one of the best hospital systems in the United States with Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and others. You'll also find that building a family here allows you to be in a world-class city with great schools and awesome people who want to help you succeed.

When you think about your next move, think about Cleveland: a city on the rise that just might be perfect for you.

ClevelandAri Lewis