EA Workforce Campaign Generating Results

September 09, 2014
Iowa’s Creative Corridor - More than 3,100 people from 31 states have submitted an application for a job in Iowa’s Creative Corridor in the past six months - a direct result of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance’s Workforce Recruitment campaign that began in February.

The recruitment campaign was announced at the Economic Alliance’s Annual Meeting Jan. 28, kicking off a $750,000 two-year effort aimed at bringing in more people to the Creative Corridor workforce. The campaign was created after months of meetings with Economic Alliance members, small and large, who cited workforce – recruiting and retaining employees – as one of their primary obstacles to growing their business or organization.

In response to these member concerns, the Economic Alliance put together a multi-pronged campaign that includes the creation of an online job portal, CRICJobRush.com, where members are provided a discount to post their openings on this site. The site is being marketed throughout the state and into neighboring states with television, cable, radio, social media and print advertising.

Since the launch of CRICJobrush.com, there have been 35,000 unique visits to the site; and 247 Economic Alliance members have posted their open positions on the site.

“We have utilized the CRICJobRush website recently for several positions, in both our production areas and front office support,” says Yvonne Hoth, human resources manager for Midwest Metal Products, 800 66th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids. “In both cases we have had a larger influx of applications and resumes than we have experienced for some time, with a much further reach than inside the metro area.

“We are looking for people who want a career and not just a job, especially those who have the desire to work in the metal fabrication field,” she says. “I would highly recommend this website to any organization looking for skilled and engaged candidates.”

The Economic Alliance has always had workforce recruitment and retention a focus of its work. This additional emphasis with the job portal and accompanying marketing complements the boots-on-the-ground effort done when the Economic Alliance team travels to various colleges and universities in the Midwest, promoting both career opportunities and quality of life amenities that Iowa’s Creative corridor has to offer.

“We really appreciate your presence and willingness to partner with our foundation to bring new faculty and resident physicians to the area,” says Jody M. Harmsen, M.D., Cedar Rapids Medical Education Foundation faculty physician and recruitment director. “Quality of life, is indeed, key to retention. We have a lot to offer in the Cedar Rapids area and your organization can certainly help us highlight the good stuff!”

To further assist members in promoting the Creative Corridor’s quality of life, the Economic Alliance will soon be making available a digital magazine that can easily distributed to potential job candidates.

The next phase of the recruitment campaign focuses on retaining recent graduates in the region. The “Stay Here” initiative’s purpose is to make sure students in the region are aware of both the career opportunities as well as regional quality of life amenities that some students may not be aware of.

To kick-off this campaign, the Economic Alliance, along with representatives from Coe College, Cornell College, Kirkwood Community College and Mount Mercy University are joining forces to host an event for alumni of all the Creative Corridor higher education institutions as part of the “Stay Here” Initiative.

The event will focus on how alumni of various colleges and schools can connect with students and invite them to stay in the region after they graduate by becoming a Community Champion. These Community Champions will then be matched with a current college student interested in learning about career opportunities in the area and experiencing the quality of life amenities in the Creative Corridor.

The event, being held on Sept. 11, will serve as a celebration of past higher learning accomplishments and a toast to the future community and personal development and prosperity for our region.

The Economic Alliance knows firsthand if you have the chance to really show a potential employee what the region has to offer, it can truly make a difference and create a Creative Corridor advocate.

One of the Economic Alliance’s interns this summer was Shea Sabin, who is from Cedar Rapids and currently attends Vanderbilt University in Nashville. She had the opportunity to participate in several of the workforce recruitment efforts the Economic Alliance provides and she came away with a new appreciation for the region.

“I believe this community has a bright future, and I'm glad I was given a behind-the-scenes look at the potential of this community,” Sabin says. “People from other states often ask me about Cedar Rapids and about Iowa - let's just say that after this summer, I have a far better answer and plenty of reasons to be proud of my hometown."
For more information on all the workforce recruitment and retention efforts the Economic Alliance offers, go to the Workforce Toolkit at www.cedarrapids.org
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