Greensboro, North Carolina: What’s Wrong With Living Here & Why Greensboro Cannot Retain It’s Humongous College Student Potential Workforce


Greensboro, North Carolina: What’s Wrong With Living Here & Why Greensboro Cannot Retain It’s Humongous College Student Potential Workforce
M.D. Wright
5.3.09

There is an interesting dynamic that exists in Greensboro, North Carolina. Greensboro has a reputation; not a positive one, amongst Greensboro natives, transplants from other states for work or college students who come to study at the 11 schools in the area.

For years, there was no nightlife to speak of in Greensboro. The “Downtown” area was a ghost town for many years. I hate to compare anything to New York, but I must say that without any major sports teams, no nightlife and nothing that appeals to 20/30-somethings who aren’t married or have children, what purpose does this city serve for those who would even consider living here long-term?

Mind you, the population is over 250,000.

There are cities all up and down the eastern seaboard from Portland, Maine to Miami that boast more night life than Greensboro does. And to prove that this boredom, malaise and relative (I say relative, because there are those who are homeless and no education) hopelessness that exists in Greensboro is ENDEMIC to Greensboro, just look at the only two cities that out-populate Greensboro in North Carolina: Raleigh and Charlotte.

Raleigh as boomed in the past ten years. Charlotte’s population has tripled since 1980. Neither city is short on things to do. Why? Because they CATER to the demographic that they claim they want to retain in their cities. Charlotte is very cosmopolitan; it appeals to upwardly mobile college graduates with two or more post-graduate degrees, middle-upper management/VP types and the new entrepreneurs in the southeast.

Raleigh appeals to every techie (and concurrently, every nurse, chemist, dentist or any other person in medicine in the southeast, with NC State, Duke Hospital, UNC Hospital and then UNC and Duke as school choices — which are in and of themselves major draws.

Who does Greensboro appeal to?

Fifty something Empty Nesters, Jerry Springer viewers who like to sit around and have children while collecting WIC and other Social Security benefits?

Ask 90% of the recent college graduates from NC A&T, UNCG, Bennett, Guilford, GTCC, High Point Univ., WSSU, etc. and they unanimously want to leave here as soon as possible. This is what is driving me back to New York, which is where I wish I had never left in the first place. Going back 4-5 times a year and spending every summer Uptown is not the same as being there year-round and having things to do.

As I mentioned before, there are several universities here. A potentially large workforce. The problem? So few jobs. Everyone claims to be hiring at all times, but they rarely do. The Moses Cone Hospital network is huge, but if you’re not an LPN, CNA, RN or CRN, forget about it with them. If you’re not in administration in the university system somehow, forget about it. Even if you have several degrees. If anything, that might over qualify you. Sheesh.

The only thing here is customer call (i.e. abuse hot line) centers and Hack Agencies (read: Collections). Who, in their right mind (and wants to sleep at night) would do such work as harassing people into paying a collections account, when they themselves probably have a couple in collections? DEAR GOD.

Greensboro needs to get it together and stop operating like a Mom & Pop country store, before it ends up BECOMING ONE.

The city needs better public transportation, a light rail system (and for Stephen’s sake, with the taxes that are levied here, this is not far-fetched) and to lure more businesses here. Greensboro is very spread out, but the great majority of the non-minimum wage jobs are in the northwestern corridor of the city.

Lying at the confluence of two major interstate highways (I-40/I-85), and 30 miles from one that brings people from gettin’ it in Ohio (I-77) and Virginia, along with just being 75 miles from I-95, this city should be as large and vibrant as Atlanta.

You tell ME what’s wrong with this picture…

I’ll welcome any thoughts.

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