Study: Jacksonville attracts college grads

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Young professionals are flocking to the city of Jacksonville, according to a new study. Forbes' America's New Brainpower Cities study shows Jacksonville is among the top 10 of cities in the nation attracting college graduates.

"Jacksonville, it's one of those places where you can really get connected very easy and I found that really early on as soon as I moved here," said Gracie Simendinger, Chair, ImpactJAX.

Gracie Simendinger graduated college in 2011 and moved to Jacksonville. She is one of over 36,000 grads who chose Jacksonville. The Forbes study shows Jacksonville had a 14.3 percent increase of college graduates, the ninth fastest growth rate in the country.

The road to successful networking led Simendinger to ImpactJAX, an organization under the Jax Chamber, made up of only young professionals mostly ages 20 - 30.

"I just became so connected to the city that there's no question that I'm going to stay," said Simendinger.

Simendinger became Chair of ImpactJAX this year and says there are over 600 members, the majority of them recent college grads who moved to Jacksonville for a job. The city's annual One Spark event targets these young entrepreneurs.

"Especially that start-ups are really becoming what Jacksonville is known for, I think you're going to see more and more young people," added Simendinger.

More young professionals making Jacksonville their final destination.

"There really is a place for everyone in Jacksonville. Whether you're beach lover, whether you're a Riverside rat, or you just love Downtown, any of those areas you can find your niche in this city and really make it your own," said Simendinger.

One Spark will showcase over 70 venues starting Wednesday, April 9.


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