Northern Shenandoah Valley Talent Attraction Marketing Recommendations Released
Development Counsellors International (DCI), has completed their plan and recommendations for a Shenandoah Valley Talent Solutions Strategy for the Northern Shenandoah Valley. This effort began through a partnership between Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Page and Warren Counties and the City of Winchester after receiving an Enhanced Capacity Building Grant in December 2018 through Go Virginia in the amount of $64,800.
DCI studied the obstacles young adults and employers in the region face when entering or remaining in middle-skill and high-skill jobs. Efforts were focused on current job seekers, university and community college graduates, and high school students with the goal of identifying targeted recruitment and retention strategies that enhance the quality and quantity of available workers in the region.
In addition to conducting internal and external surveys online, DCI met with local stakeholders including area businesses, educators, young professionals and future workforce candidates. This helped them to gain an unbiased perspective on the area’s strengths and weaknesses as well as an outsider’s perception of the Valley, including their thoughts on living and working in this area and priorities when selecting an area in which to relocate.
The following are some of the top takeaways from these conversations:
- 46% of respondents currently enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary institution would like to stay in the region. However, 38% are not confident they will find a job in the region that meets their skill and/or salary requirements;
- 89% of employers would hire or would consider hiring employees that require additional training. Of those, 90% would be willing to pay for the additional training required by job candidates;
- 64% of external talent said “yes” they would relocate to the region if offered a job that provided free/reduced cost training which allowed them to change their career path and/or upgrade their skills.
Based on the research, as well as best practices, DCI recommended a strategy including 8+ major marketing tactics for the region to start promoting its career and lifestyle opportunities to internal and external talent. These suggested tactics aim to arm employers with information to sell the region, increase awareness of the region as an ideal place for careers and lifestyle, and inspire career change locally.
Samples of tactics include:
- A regional website focused on information on living and working in the Northern Shenandoah Valley region;
- A digital regional resource that showcases “things to do”;
- A digital hub within the new talent website dedicated to career training;
- Paid digital + social advertising to reach target audiences in the target markets DCI identified;
- A regional “internship fair” event over winter break to prepare young talent for summer internships.
This partnership of economic development entities intends to implement the Talent Attraction Marketing Strategy, which includes launching a marketing and public relations campaign to elevate the Northern Shenandoah Valley as a great place to live and work as well as working with area employers to connect potential talent with information on the region’s amenities and quality of life features. Workforce providers, businesses, and tourism entities will be sought for inclusion in this effort.
Patrick Barker, CEcD | Frederick County EDA, Executive Director
(540) 665-0973 | email@example.com
City of Winchester
Shawn Hershberger | Development Services Director
(540) 667-1815 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenna French | Director of Tourism and Economic Development
(540) 459-1822 | email@example.com
Liz Lewis | Economic Development and Tourism Coordinator
(540) 743-1216 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Parsons | Warren County EDA, Executive Director
(540) 635-2182 | email@example.com
Chris Boies | County Administrator
(540) 955-5191 | firstname.lastname@example.org