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Companies continue to tell the Chamber and our economic development arm, the Springfield Business Development Corporation, about the need for additional skilled workers to meet the demands of growth. It’s why the Chamber officially added workforce development as a fourth strategic area of focus, and why the SBDC invests significant time and money into the Talent Attraction Initiative (TAI).
It’s gratifying when our industry peers recognize these efforts – as they did on September 19, when the International Economic Development Council presented Chamber economic development staff with a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for the TAI at its annual conference in Toronto.
“Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community,” said Michael Langley, CEO of Greater MSP, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and 2017 IEDC board chair, “but their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects, which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”
The 2017 IEDC award carries special significance in that it is reserved for existing programs, meaning Springfield’s TAI is being lauded for its ability to remain effective and useful more than three years after its creation.
The TAI launched in January 2014 with LiveInSpringfieldMO.com, and has expanded in the last three years to include printed brochures, a biennial relocation guide, a recruitment booth for use at tradeshows and a series of eye-catching videos that includes an “anthem” video, three industry-specific videos and three more currently in production that showcase the area’s quality of life.
“When we launched this program, employers were telling us the same thing: The region has a strong talent pipeline through our area colleges and universities, but they need help recruiting the right candidates for advanced roles,” said Lindsay Haymes, the chamber’s vice president of workforce development. “Employers respond to that need by looking to bring people in from outside the region, and we wanted to help offer the sales pitch on Springfield that they needed to attract the right candidates.”
“We wanted to create a program that demonstrates all the benefits Springfield has to offer and that would remain fresh and enticing,” Haymes added. “This award proves that we’ve done that, and we’ll continue to update and add new resources to keep it viable for years to come.”