Many tourists travel to Memphis each year to visit Beale Street, the National Civil Rights Museum, and Graceland. And then they leave.
A new program called "Memphis Vibe!" is aimed at teaching local talent recruiters how to use the city's brand to convince young professionals to stay in the Bluff City.
"It's one thing getting somebody here. It's another thing keeping them here," said Leslie Gower, vice president of marketing for the Downtown Memphis Commission. "If a recruit is interested in music, we want [talent recruiters] to be able to get them connected with organizations that are involved in music. If they are more passionate about food, let's get them connected with the food community."
Memphis Vibe is a collaboration between the Leadership Academy, Mayor A C Wharton's office, the University of Memphis, and the Downtown Memphis Commission.
The multi-series program takes recruiters from local businesses on tours of the city, showcasing attractions the recruiter can share with prospective employees. Last Thursday, the tour kicked off at the
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law with a downtown-centric program featuring a Memphis history lesson by historian Jimmy Ogle and developer Henry Turley.
A bus tour of downtown attractions such as Beale Street, the South Main Arts Distrct, Beale Street Landing, Mud Island, and the future Bass Pro Shops store at the Pyramid followed.
After the tour, the group convened for a luncheon at Felicia Suzanne's, where Wharton led a talk on Electrolux, Mitsubishi, and recent downtown developments with the U of M law school, the Visible Music College, and the Memphis College of Art.
Also at the luncheon, Memphis Police director Toney Armstrong and South Main Station precinct commander Arley Knight revealed that downtown is the safest area of the city statistically, boasting 20 police cameras, bicycle cops, and community policing. Arley said there have only been five car break-ins downtown this year to date.
Mya Donald, communications specialist for the Leadership Academy, said misunderstandings about the crime, educational opportunities, and real estate sway people from seeking employment in the city.
"[The series is] all for talent recruiters and helping them to dispel the myth and talk positively about these issues," Donald said.
There were 52 talent recruiters representing Kroger, ServiceMaster, Smith & Nephew, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, FedEx, and other local businesses participating in the series last Thursday.
Memphis Vibe programs will be held on a bimonthly basis. Upcoming programs will include tours of Midtown, the Medical District, Shelby Farms Park, and other areas. The next installment will be held in April.
"We have a lot to offer and that is fed in through our vibrancy, our entrepreneurship, art, recreation, and film," Gower said. "There are so many things that make up the Memphis brand, and all of that feeds into our vibe."