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Posted by: Cynthia Orellana, Commonwealth Corps Coordinator

On Thursday evening we held our latest forum of the “What’s Your Massachusetts” Young Adult series with Secretary Greg Bialecki of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.  This time we met with about 100 young adults in Hyannis from across the Cape Cod region. The panel and audience raised many different issues, both positive and challenging, that young adults face on the Cape.

Gary Sheehan, co-founder of the Cape Cod Young Professionals kicked off the forum. The panel included Erin Madden from Cape Cod Broadcasting, Patrick Johnson from the Governor’s Youth Council, Rayssa Ribeiro from Cape Cod Community College, and Patrick Cassidy, a reporter for the Cape Cod Times who worked on a young adult series called Generation Exit that the paper put together a year ago.

CAPE_COD

At left, Rayssa Ribeiro from Cape Cod Community College.
At right, Patrick Johnson from the Governor’s Youth Council.

As the evening unfolded, we heard a range of topics; some echoed what other young people have said in other regions, yet were unique to life on the Cape. For example, the need for affordable housing has been a popular theme across forums, but on the Cape it included the need for more rental units and start-up housing for young families, confronting youth homelessness and finding solutions via use of the vacant seasonal housing stock.

Cape Cod’s vacation destination status was a source for many of the comments raised including what makes it a desirable place to live, as well as the challenges of being a seasonal economy. People suggested more entry level jobs and permanent employment opportunities; the need to support local small businesses and establish a niche for certain industries, e.g. “The Silicon Sandbar.” Another important theme had to do with inclusion of recent immigrant communities, including through educational institutions.

Thanks to all who came and shared their voice! If you didn’t get a chance to attend, please share your thoughts and recommendations. We will continue to meet with smaller organized groups of young people over the next month in Worcester and Chelsea to continue the discussions about the issues that matter most to them.
 

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