Talent Attraction Initiative Launched
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Regional Partnership Aims to Help Increase Workforce Availability
Ottumwa, IA – A regional partnership group made up of economic developers, chamber directors and staff from Indian Hills Community College has announced they are in the early stages of a regional talent attraction initiative. Working in conjunction with our partners at Iowa Economic Development Authority; the goal of the project is to increase the available pool of workers across southeast Iowa’s 10-county region, particularly in high demand sectors.
The group decided to launch the initiative after multiple members recounted conversations with area employers about the difficulty they face in filling certain positions. According to Sharon Stroh, Executive Director at OEDC, “Local employers could hire new staff and add jobs in a hearbeat if there were more workers available in our area. And the spectrum is anything from machinists to engineers. All with good pay and benefits, many not needing a four-year college degree”.
In December, the project committee sent out a request for proposal (RFP) seeking outside marketing/development assistance in shaping the initiative. McClure, based out of Clive, IA, has been selected as the consultant. Initial information gathering has begun.
The approach to the problem will be two-fold. The group plans to target candidates who are living outside of the area but may be willing to relocate. As part of the initiative, McClure will be developing a regional branding strategy that is meant to attract workers to the region’s natural amenities and affordable cost of living. ”Our research shows that right now, Iowa carries a neutral perception as a place to live and work. That perception can be enhanced nearly 90% once folks have visited our state through business or recreational travel” says Jacque Matson, Marketing & Communications Director for IEDA. Economies of scale are available to both the state and regional groups by sharing multiple “buzz-generating” tactics in creative advertising, social media strategy, digital campaigning, and connecting with other influencers.
The second part of the project is geared at helping current residents who may currently be unemployed or underemployed gain the necessary skills to secure higher wage employment. Despite the low unemployment rate, the group believes that there are pockets of people within the region who would like to take advantage of growth opportunities if made more aware of the short-term nature of some available trainings.
Ottumwa Economic Development Corp.
May 17, 2019