Food, Beer, Art
Malik says that while the city’s growth has allowed the university to attract students, the university, in turn, has contributed to the growth of the workforce and even the development of key industries, such as the restaurant, food and beverage industries.
Two baking and pastry graduates from the university's College of Culinary Arts started Birdsong Brewery Company, one of the first craft breweries to open in Charlotte.
"We have a very robust beverage education program, which includes high-level wine certification and beer certification courses,” Malik says. “What you're looking at is the output of this education where people who are trained and educated are going and impacting our businesses. So we can firmly say that our role is beyond just providing employees. These employees have gone on to bring about a level of sophistication which was not there in this city.”
The region's food and entertainment scene also helps attract young talent.
Lauren Harkey, president of the board of Young Affiliates of the Mint, a group of young professionals that support the Mint Art Museum, is a Charlotte native who recently returned to the region after graduating from college and law school.
Charlotte’s arts, culture and entertainment scenes keep young professionals engaged in the community, she says.
“I got involved with the Mint and the young affiliates as a way to meet people who were also ‘new’ to Charlotte," Harkey says. "I’m interested in the arts, and there is something to do arts-related at least three nights a week. So I'm never bored when it comes to after-work activities.”