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Thread: People cant wrap their heads around switching to attracting people and talent instead of a business

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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    People cant wrap their heads around switching to attracting people and talent instead of a business

    On the state level you see little if any movement in this direction. Its like people do not know what to do at full employment. We have a couple of manufacturers in our town that can't get enough decent workers. The last thing we need is to TIF a new development project. There simply are not workers.

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    We're in the same place. Smallish town Kansas with a recent headline, "Job openings equal to unemployment". You can't find good help around here. I was told the sign of a good employee is that they show up for work. Really?!? We keep trying to land the next big factory of distribution center not thinking that there is no one to work the job, but we have no skilled labor so anything bigger is out of the picture. We also have very little to offer in terms of attracting talent. Not many people want to live in the middle of nowhere.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    While it is becoming more acute in smaller towns, this is happening all over our state. In our own cities we see it with cops and waste water people the most. As soon as we get a trained cop, one of the bigger jurisdictions swoops in.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Related: a decade ago former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm started the 'Cool Cities' initiative. At the time it was scoffed at by some, but the underlying principle was very much legitimate. Young, creative, talented types are attracted to living in urban areas where arts and cultural amenities are present/available. Knights of Columbus Friday fish fries are well and good, but appeal to a stagnant or diminishing demographic. The Kewl Kids nowadays want to go to interesting clubs, drink handcrafted coffee and/or beer, and have a vibrant art and theatre scene on hand. You know, cultural stuff.

    Growth occurs where a younger demographic is attracted to
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Related: a decade ago former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm started the 'Cool Cities' initiative. At the time it was scoffed at by some, but the underlying principle was very much legitimate. Young, creative, talented types are attracted to living in urban areas where arts and cultural amenities are present/available. Knights of Columbus Friday fish fries are well and good, but appeal to a stagnant or diminishing demographic. The Kewl Kids nowadays want to go to interesting clubs, drink handcrafted coffee and/or beer, and have a vibrant art and theatre scene on hand. You know, cultural stuff.

    Growth occurs where a younger demographic is attracted to
    That is a good point. The question is; How do you get that started? You have to convince at least some of the long time locals that things like Complete Streets, and Farmers Markets with entertainment, and those types of things matter. I am looking past Millenials to people like my own Generation Z kids.

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I look at it as the problem of getting the old crowd together with the new crowd. My town is very set in its ways and all those new ideas from the other crowd are just crazy and they'll never work. So nothing ever changes. Then they complain that we're not growing. At the same time the new crowd needs to work on their stuff. It's one of two problems. They think up an idea and figure people will just magically show up. Um...you need some advertising or programming or something to get it going. The other is great festivals like our river fest. It decently attended, but I've only been twice. The first year it was cool. A couple years later I went back and it's the same artists, vendors, bands, entertainment as it has been. Gotta keep trying to change and improve things people or it gets stale and boring.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  7. #7
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I find the difficulty being that politicians in smaller communities are generally retired people. This means they are in a much different generation from those who actually live in the world. Yes there are some business types, but they are focused on job creation, not long term community value.

    Having politicians who are willing to look beyond their 4 year term is what I see as the biggest problem. If you can't do something that shows immediate benefit, then it isn't worth doing. Building value with parks, arts, walkability, etc. isn't something that changes an area overnight. It takes time. Giving a company $5billion to create 15,000 jobs is something 'tangible' that they can say they did. I think we all know too well though what 'tangible' means in this scenario, as most these deals never actually create what they say they will.

    Putting money into infrastructure and place instead of business is the right thing to do. Getting politicians to look past their next election is not easy though.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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    Cyburbian Doohickie's avatar
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    Kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. Why attract people if your economy won't support them?

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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    But it would support them now. Some directly in town, others regionally. Two manufacturers in town told me they need people.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    We have the same problems with talent attraction here in my major metro. I've been pushing for a few years now that we should be working with our regional chamber to do a serious talent attraction program instead of just our traditional business attraction efforts. We've got some new blood in the leadership of our workforce development agency and I think she definitely sees the need for talent attraction but I think our big problem here is that it 100% has got to be a regional effort and cannot be just a county-wide one. We are a relatively large county in terms of population but most people have probably never heard of us or would confuse us with a large city out west but local politics would mean there would be no way we could market ourselves as Metro XXX since that city still has a lot of negative perception around the region and the country.

    In terms of how to effectively market a region for talent attraction I think it's imperative that you need local partners from the business community willing to put their names and logos on your marketing materials to basically say, "We're hiring!" or to at least show who some of the big employers are in your region. Yes, it's important to market an area's quality of life but if a potential transplant doesn't know who might be hiring they will probably never look at your region. Of course this is especially difficult in smaller or more isolated communities that don't have those employers with national name recognition.
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