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Why Young Professionals are Flocking to the Iowa City Area

A local couple shares how the city has helped them thrive.

By Winona Dimeo-Ediger on November 25, 2019

Iowa City
Sarah Chabolla

Thanks to its nationally ranked public school system and the University of Iowa, the Iowa City area has carved out a reputation as a great place for families and college students. But there’s another demographic proudly making a mark in this evolving, creative city: young professionals.

We talked to a couple who have high-tech jobs (and could live anywhere in the country) about why they chose to build their lives and careers in Iowa City.

Want to join the party? Check out the ICR Iowa Talent Hub, a resource that connects new residents with local job opportunities – for free.

Iowa City, IA Residents
Iowa City / Josh Krakauer

Josh Krakauer and Sarah Chabolla live in a loft downtown. Every morning, they take their dog, Blue, for a walk and grab coffee at one of the local coffee shops within a few blocks of their home.

Sarah, 27, works remotely as the director of organizing and client success for a political tech company. Josh, 29, is the founder and CEO of Sculpt, a social media marketing agency headquartered in a 100-year-old building conveniently located next door to their home. Blue spends half the day at Josh’s office and half at Sarah’s coworking space (where everyone knows his name). On the weekends, they see movies at FilmScene, the independent theater across the street, hit up the farmers market or sample the latest craft beers at Big Grove, their favorite local brewery.

Iowa City
Sarah Chabolla

This is exactly the kind of lifestyle you’d expect from a hip young couple living in, say, Brooklyn or Portland. Could Josh and Sarah live in one of those places? Sure. But they’d rather live here.

“Iowa City has the arts, food and culture of a bigger city, but it’s more affordable and accessible,†Josh says.

For Sarah, who grew up in the D.C. area, the tight-knit community is a huge draw.

“It’s easier to get involved and meet people who are doing interesting things. Within my first year of living here, I was on a committee, volunteering on local campaigns, and had an awesome job.”

Iowa City: The Greatest Small City for the Arts

Josh tapped into that collaborative spirit while building his business.

“People here are the right level of supportive, collaborative, forward-thinking and ambitious,†he says. “What change do you want to see? What do you think should exist? What would make you happy? If you’re a doer with a great idea, you can probably make that happen here.”

So what advice would they give to a young person pondering a move to the Iowa City area?

“Do it!†Sarah says.

“Make a list of pros and cons,†Josh says, “then throw it away, move here and stop thinking so much.”

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