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Declining, desperate Detroit is old news.

It's not that the city's economic woes, struggling schools, racial friction and crime have been magically solved. A glance at local headlines will tell you that.

But there are new stories to tell about Detroit today. Which doesn't mean the old stories are all wrong -- just that they're not the whole story anymore.

In recent years, for instance, Detroit has become a magnet for ambitious young people. Some grew up in the area; some move in from the coasts or other parts of the Midwest. Many are motivated by idealism or a sense of adventure, seeking to play a part in reviving a Great American City. Others, however, simply see an opportunity to fast track their careers.

You see them everywhere -- sporting events downtown, galleries in Midtown, pubs in Corktown, restaurants in Southwest, music clubs in Hamtramck, sidewalks on the East Side, soccer fields at Belle Isle park, vegetable stands at Eastern Market. But a lot of people inside Michigan and out still don't know about it.

This new story is exemplified by the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program (DRFP), a Wayne State University project that connects rising mid-career professionals to organizations at the forefront of efforts to boost economic development in the city. Initiated by Wayne State Associate Vice President Ahmad Ezzeddine in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Skillman Foundation, the project drew inspiration from a fellowship program in post-Katrina New Orleans. A wide majority of the 25 New Orleans Fellows stayed in the city after the program concluded, notes DFRP Executive Director, Dr. Robin Boyle -- a nationally known planning professional who chairs Wayne State's Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

"I still marvel over the fact that we had almost 650 applicants from across the country apply for 25 positions -- the opportunity to come to Detroit," says Rachele Downs, the DRFP Program Manager and a veteran commercial real estate broker. "These are people who are graduates of some of the best schools in the country with equally impressive professional experience."

Click HERE to read the full article by Jay Walljasper on HuffPost Detroit!


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