Mayor Dan Horrigan has identified the necessary goal — stem the decline in, and even increase, the city’s population. He and his team know that Akron won’t reach its objective through one, two or three initiatives. Many steps are required, larger and smaller. Leadership Akron recently unveiled its latest contribution, Destination Akron, a six-month pilot project to help local businesses recruit and retain talent.

It comes as no surprise that the likes of Goodyear, Bridgestone Americas and the University of Akron must overcome the Rust Belt factor when competing for new hires. The stereotype turns into a question: What would I do in Akron, or any other aging industrial town, when I am not working? Destination Akron seeks to replace false preconceptions with a “compelling proposition,” as Mark Scheffler, the president of Leadership Akron, puts it.

How, exactly?

A decade ago, Scheffler and his colleagues launched Insight Akron, a broad yet quick introduction to the city and surroundings for newly arrived executives. Among the themes to emerge from the experience is the eye-opener effect, “Gee, I didn’t know that!” Or its variation, “I wish I had known that before I… .”

Destination Akron seeks to fill in the knowledge gaps and thus improve the yield of human resources departments.

As part of its recruiting and hiring process, a company would contract with the program to provide a tour and other resources tailored around the specific interests of the candidate, spouse or family. The engagement also would be open to those just hired as part of retention. Volunteer ambassadors would be tapped. They would be equipped to answer questions, giving depth to the time together.

The project includes a leadership element. The point often is made that Akron is big enough to have its share of city problems, yet small enough to organize effectively to address them. In its way, that goes to quality of life. There are opportunities for new leaders, and brighter prospects for seeing advances.

Leadership Akron did not come up with this idea on its own. It has borrowed from the successful Detroit Experience Factory, an organization that has spent the past decade working, tour by tour, event by event, to defeat misconceptions of the reviving Motor City.

The point isn’t to be something you are not. San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle have their obvious advantages. Akron has its attractions, too, and they go beyond the limited rush hour and favorable cost of living. Destination Akron wagers that more knowledge will mean more people and their talents.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has put up the seed money for the pilot, just as it has supported other initiatives involving talent and place, from downtown to the arts to neighborhoods. The challenge for city leaders, advocates and others is maintaining momentum on many fronts. Which is just where Destination Akron could be a big help.