Young Gamechangers Kick Off Program in Dalton
Wednesday, May 11th, 2022
In April, Young Gamechangers kicked off its program in Dalton, Georgia. The Georgia Forward program brings up-and-coming leaders from within the host community as well as from all over Georgia to take a deep dive into the challenges of a single community. The 47 young professionals will then spend five months developing specific, creative, and actionable recommendations.
The challenge questions asked by Dalton-Whitfield County are:
• “How do we leverage the uniqueness of our multicultural community, convenient location on I-75, outdoor recreation amenities and natural beauty of the Northwest Georgia mountains to market Dalton as a destination for visitors, new residents and businesses?”
• “The city of Dalton is devoting considerable resources to create a more vibrant community that attracts people (and/or especially families) to live, work and play here. How can Dalton-Whitfield County improve the ability to support neighborhood-based redevelopment in blighted or distressed areas?”
• “In 2019, 70% of Dalton-Whitfield County’s k-12 students were considered economically disadvantaged. How can the community support the student population to improve educational outcomes and give them the tools they need to succeed?”
• “A significant percentage of our residents do not feel empowered or feel that their voices are being heard. Dalton is a very diverse community, where 50.8% of the population is Hispanic or Latino. Unfortunately, the majority of our Hispanic residents don’t feel welcomed or included in the community. This reluctance is evident across all cultures, occupations and socioeconomic levels. How can we engage all sectors of the community to bring everyone to the table?”
The Young Gamechangers will share their final report with the local community on September 29th.
“They bring fresh eyes and new ideas,” said Georgia Municipal Association CEO and Executive Director Larry Hanson. “That fresh perspective can really help local officials find new ways to address some of the issues they face. They might see things that people who are in the community every day don’t notice. Sometimes, all of us don’t notice something right beneath our nose.”
Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce President Jason Mock said he believes having the Young Gamechangers focus on Dalton will be “tremendously helpful.”
“These young men and women aren’t just the future, they are the present,” he said. “In their own communities, they are emerging leaders. For them to get engaged with our community and see the challenges we face and try to develop solutions can only be a benefit to Dalton.”
The Young Gamechangers are accomplished professionals ages 40 and under from across the state who wish to make an impact through civic engagement, economic development, and community partnerships. A third of the class is from the Dalton-Whitfield County area, another third is from the metro Atlanta region and the remaining third are from greater Georgia. If you are interested in applying to be a future Young Gamechanger or a host city for the program, please visit GeorgiaForward.org/young-gamechangers for more information.