The Milwaukee 7, a group formed from seven counties of southeastern Wisconsin, was created to promote the counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha with a new image, one that promoted a strengthened community with a wealth of waiting opportunities. College newspapers from around the state participated in a familiarization conference hosted by the Milwaukee 7 this past weekend. Think of the major cities of the world. Each has its own trademark symbol that people recognize. San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, St. Louis has its Gateway Arch and Sydney, Australia has the opera house. What comes to mind about Milwaukee? Miller Brewing Company, the Milwaukee Brewers – I would prefer to think of Bob Uecker, or maybe even Summerfest. But, as much as Milwaukee’s Brew City heritage has put the area on the map, it is no longer an effective tool for advertising the changes being made ever day within the city. The Milwaukee Art Museum is less than one mile from the center of the city, and with the completion of the museum’s expansion, the first Santiago Calatrava design to be completed in the United States, it is the social, cultural, and economical identifier that will show the world that there is so much more to the Milwaukee 7 than brats, beer, and baseball. That is the driving force behind the Milwaukee 7: reconstructing an old image to emphasize a new scene. Dave Fantle of Visit Milwaukee, Ted Bobrow of Strategic Communications and Advocacy, Christian Bartley of World Trade Center Wisconsin, Dean Amhaus of Spirit of Milwaukee, and Eric Paulsen, a consultant, coordinated the events and gave us a guided tour for the Milwaukee 7 Familiarization Conference, giving us an insight into the city that can’t be expressed through a travel brochure. Business, marketing, government, financing, healthcare, biotechnology, fine arts and more – no matter what you’re looking for, there is a career opportunity here for you. The Milwaukee 7 is home to more corporate headquarters than most cities its size, acting as a hub to the rest of the country and the world. With General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and O’Hare in Chicago, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be. Conservatory students should not feel discouraged, for there are plenty of opportunities for them, too. Located within the seven counties of the greater Milwaukee region are more than 150 professional cultural organizations. This massive gathering of cultural entertainment includes a ballet company, an opera company, and over a dozen theater companies, as well as the largest nonprofit organization in the state this year, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, with approximately 68 members and more performances than there is room to list. What’s the job market like for graduates right out college? It depends on the specific job you want. For example, getting a chair in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra might be a challenge – however, as Tony Forman, Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance of Milwaukee describes it, “It is competitive but not as competitive as a larger metropolitan area, and the quality of life you get here is disproportionately good.” Where are you most likely to get your foot in the door? Forman says, “Arts administration jobs [have] a lot of turnover.” Britt Zarling, an alumna of UW-Madison currently employed by Manpower, Inc., started out in Milwaukee. Believing that the Midwest was all about “beer, and brats, and cheeseheads,” she moved to Texas to pursue a job with GE Healthcare. That pursuit led her overseas to Paris, France, and it was during her time away from the Midwest that she came to realize that “you really value your Midwestern roots and so does everyone else,” because they come with a set of values that can’t be found elsewhere. “I love Milwaukee; it’s a great place but also has the surrounding communities,” Zarling said. “There are great opportunities here you can’t beat.” I grew up in Milwaukee, and the region will always hold a special place in my heart. The place I knew, that I grew up in is gone. It changes so often that I sometimes feel like I don’t know it any more. If the idea of the city scares you, know that those fears are not unwarranted. However, you should know that every city has its problems, whether it is the school systems, or the roads, or the possibility of violence. “There are always the same challenges wherever you move,” Bobrow said at the farewell breakfast, “but [in Milwaukee] there is a great balance.” In the Milwaukee 7, you can live in the quieter, suburban areas, work in the city and have an average commute of 20 minutes. There are so many options available in this community that there really is something for everyone. The Milwaukee 7 is a great place, with all the opportunities of a major metropolitan area without the 70-minute commutes. In order for the area to keep progressing in its current direction, Generation X has to step it up and take responsibility in filling the career gaps of the retiring generation. They’re there, waiting for you. So, what’s your next step going to be? Time is wasting – currently, there are two people retiring for every one entering the workforce. Personally, I suggest you get out and experience the region for yourself. Words and pictures are great, but the true beauty or the region can only be seen through experience.