Last year Dubuque, Iowa used a grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to create and run an ad campaign in Denver, Chicago, Madison, Wis., Minneapolis and St. Paul — cities that have drawn many young Dubuquers away from home.
The campaign’s theme: “Dubuque: Your hometown. Your future.”
According to USA TODAY, Dubuque and other cities around the nation are trying to plug a brain drain by wooing young professionals. And they’re getting more pointed in their pursuit: They’re courting women.
Wendy Romero, 30, was lured here by opportunity. She studied art at Savannah College of Art and Design and got a master’s at Georgia Southern University. She came to tiny Loras College to help launch a visual arts program of studio art, graphic and interactive design.
“It’s an opportunity for me to be a pioneer in education and change the way art and design is seen,” Romero says.
Female entrepreneurs thrive here. The Cafe Manna Java gourmet coffeehouse and restaurant on Main Street is owned by a woman. The Body & Soul Wellness and Spa Center is owned by Julia Theisen.
Architect Bethany Golombeski, 36, a native of Flint, Mich., once lived in Chicago and Germany. She and her husband, Bob Johnson, who had relatives in the area, bought the Captain Merry, a historic building across the river in East Dubuque, Ill., and turned it into an upscale inn, restaurant and spa.
“Growing up in a very industrial city, I had no sense of pride, no sense of community,” she says.