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When the Chamber added workforce development as its fourth strategic area of focus a year and a half ago, we were answering a need. As part of our Existing Business Support Program, we asked businesses about their most pressing concerns, and one issue consistently topped the list: workforce.
But as the local economy continues to grow, we run into a problem that is both predictable and difficult to prevent: We’re running out of people to hire locally. The only answer is to combine development of our own local workforce with a concerted effort to attract the best and the brightest to the Springfield region.
Enter the Talent Attraction Initiative, a joint effort of the Chamber and Springfield Business Development Corporation, the Chamber’s economic development arm. Through this initiative, a set of tools have been developed to provide a variety of resources businesses can use in conjunction with their existing talent recruitment efforts.
Initial research focused on what job seekers consider when deciding whether to relocate, concentrating on industry sectors of highest need in our area, including information technology, health care and engineering. This research helped steer the direction of the initiative as we learned the top criteria most important to individuals considering relocation.
“Bringing in the right talent is going to remain one of our employers’ biggest challenges for the near future,” says Lindsay Haymes, the Chamber’s vice president of workforce development. “The first part of bringing in that talent is showing what a great place Springfield is to live, work, play and learn.”
One of the first facets of the initiative was developing an attractive online presence—predictably, the majority of potential candidates begins with a general web search when considering a new community.
The result is LiveInSpringfieldMO.com, a comprehensive collection of resources, from a cost of living comparison tool to an integrated job search for trailing spouses and regional opportunities for culture and leisure. The site is intended to complement existing talent recruitment efforts by individual companies and professional organizations.
Professionally produced videos on the site capture the spirit of the Springfield region, showcasing all the reasons why Springfield is the best place to enjoy the life you want while pursuing the career you want. In addition to an anthem video, three industry videos provide an in-depth look at what Springfield has to offer professionals from the IT, engineering and health care sectors.
“This [health care] video … is extremely valuable for our recruitment efforts,” said Celeste Cramer, manager of recruitment for Mercy health system in Springfield. “At a career fair, I looped the video on my iPad, and it was a huge hit! It attracted people to my table, and most [visitors] remarked that they didn't realize Springfield has so many professional and personal opportunities."
The Chamber and SBDC will continue to lead the way in answering the needs of business and industry. For more information on talent attraction resources available or to learn more about the Talent Attraction Initiative, visit the SBDC website or contact Rachael Snow, economic development marketing coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.