In a CBS47 Special Report, Brittney Hopper tells us how one organization is trying to bring the best and brightest back home to Fresno.
It's called the Boomerang Project and its goal is to bring back, by the end of the year, ten professionals who have moved away. It's a boomerang effect that will enhance our community.
Jake Soberal is an attorney by day and the President of the Boomerang Project by night. "I am a boomerang. I left here at 18 with no intention of ever coming back," said Jake.
Jake left Fresno for college and law school but realized there was a future for him to practice law near family and friends. Now it's his mission, along with other members of the Boomerang Project, to bring educated, experienced professionals home to Fresno. "They're at that juncture in their lives where they would really be excited about coming back to Fresno, if they believe there's a fulfilling career opportunity here," said Jake.
That's where the Boomerang Project steps in. For the past eight months, they've been collecting a database with dozens of high level local jobs. "By high level, I mean jobs that require a four year degree or sometimes the equivalent of experience and most pay a hundred thousand dollars or more," said Jake.
Layne Lev is a boomerang. He went to Cal Poly and then worked in the Bay Area for years. He never planned to return to Fresno, but as he got older and started thinking about having a family, the idea got more appealing. "When you start settling down with a family and think about how you want to raise your kids and if you want to have your family around and if want them to grow up with a backyard... those things start to come into play as you get older," said Layne.
He soon realized he could make the same money in Fresno as in the Bay Area, but with a dramatically reduced cost of living. Lev is a partner at One Hundred & Ten Communications Inc., a design firm focusing on company websites and mobile apps. Layne's office is in Fresno and his wife and two children now call the Valley home. "When I look back at what we've been able to achieve here, I think I'm in a much better place," said Layne.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin believes in the project and is proud such individuals believe in Fresno enough to want to bring people back, and are stepping up to the plate to do something about it. "I can't stress how important it is to make sure that we recruit our best and brightest back to Fresno," said Mayor Swearengin.
By the end of the year, the Boomerang Project hopes to get ten professionals to relocate home to Fresno. They've turned to social media, like Facebook and Twitter, and are relying on family members who live in Fresno to reach out to their loved ones in California and other parts of the country, to tell them the payoff will be both personal and professional. "You really can have it all, you can have that career and you can also have all the many attributes you remember that makes Fresno a quality place to you and your mind," said Jake.
We're told some of the open jobs have been sitting vacant for months, partly because those applying don't have enough experience for the position, and they tend to hire outside of Fresno.
Click on the related link to learn more about the Boomerang Project.