15×15 Initiative
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UPDATE:  The Hudson-Webber Foundation will be evaluating and reflecting on the 15×15 initiative throughout 2015.  In the meantime, the Foundation is continuing to award grants to organizations and projects aligned with place-based talent attraction and retention in Greater Downtown Detroit.

The single best predictor of a region’s economic health and prosperity is the proportion of adults with a four-year degree or more. 15×15 is a shared vision to attract 15,000 young, talented households to Greater Downtown Detroit by 2015.  Although sometimes referred to as a talent strategy, 15×15 is much more a place-based strategy, working in a targeted geography to make it the kind of place young talent wants to be.  By focusing on talent attraction and retention, ultimately issues that are a critical to achieving that end goal arise – housing, jobs and business opportunities, retail and third places, and safety and perceived safety.

Currently Michigan is 34th in the country in proportion of adults with a 4-year degree, with Detroit and other urban cores specifically fairing poorly. When comparing this statistic with the realization that there are not only seven higher learning institutions within 90 miles of Detroit, but that 70% of college graduates are moving to urban centers, the questions must be asked, “whose cities are they building?” and “how do we compete for that talent?”