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Generations of people came to the Midwest in hopes of finding a better life. But economic opportunity has been harder to find since the recession began, and people have left the region in record numbers in search of jobs or a better housing market. Changing Gears “Midwest Migration” project is collecting photos, stories, and voicemail messages from former Midwesterners – people who have left region since the recession of 2008.We’re mapping where people ended up, and we're sharing their stories about why they left and whether life is better for them now.We’ll also hear whether they plan to return to the Midwest.You can share your Midwest migration story here, and see responses on our Midwest Migration tumblr page.The Midwest Migration will run through mid-February 2012.

Midwest Migration: Is the grass greener in Atlanta?

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Changing Gears' Midwest Migration” project is featuring the stories of former Midwesterners – people who have left the region since the recession of 2008.

Name: Conrad Schissler
Midwest Home: Ann Arbor, MI
New Home: Atlanta, GA

After a series of part-time jobs working my way through the University of Michigan, I got a good full-time job as IT administrator for an automotive supply company. When the recession hit, we suffered furloughs and salary cuts that made it impossible to stay with that job.

I took advantage of the time off to tour the country on my motorcycle. I rode thousands of miles, from Boston to Kansas City to Minneapolis, applying for jobs and meeting the locals.

I landed in Atlanta. I enjoy my life here: I fell in love with a wonderful man, I've found an excellent job, and I have a lot of great new friends here.

As great as my life is, though, Atlanta just isn't home. I miss summers that aren't too blistering hot to go outside; and I miss the dramatic change of seasons. I love you Atlanta, but you can never be more than a tryst.

*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network. Add a story here.

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