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Innovating How the ICR Iowa Region Attracts Workforce

November 21, 2023 | Economic Development & Workforce

Shannon Hanson

The ICR Iowa region has an innovative solution to helping solve talent attraction known as Talent Hub, which bridges the gap between skilled professionals and area businesses. Leading this workforce initiative is Shannon Hanson, the driving force behind the Talent Hub program. Within just eighteen months, Shannon has successfully placed more than 32 candidates within the ICR Iowa region.

For Shannon, this is not merely a professional pursuit. It is a personal mission that has yielded remarkable results. “The goal isn’t simply to match employees with businesses. I want to help guide individuals back to their roots,” she explains. Driven by her profound love for Iowa, Shannon is committed to helping bring talented professionals to our region, as well as keeping area jobseekers within our community. “Our ultimate objective is to strengthen Iowa’s workforce. While local businesses benefit, our overarching goal is to reignite the spirit of Iowa within its people,” she emphasized.

What exactly does this process involve? It’s a dynamic fusion of strategic outreach and personalized engagement, harnessing the power of ongoing social media campaigns on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. The goal is to inspire prospective returnees to the ICR region by showcasing the exceptional quality of life elements that define our area. “We target professionals in larger cities with ties to Iowa, reigniting that nostalgic connection,” Shannon shares. Crafted with a ‘coming home’ sentiment, the Talent Hub messaging aims to evoke a profound sense of belonging and community, striking a chord with each potential candidate. However, this process goes beyond the digital realm.

Upon initial interest, Shannon’s process shifts into high gear. After the completion of two simple, yet comprehensive, forms by candidates, Shannon engages in a conversation, delving deeper into their qualities beyond their credentials. “I’m intrigued by the intangibles that can’t be captured on a standard CV,” she emphasizes. “Understanding their unique work qualities helps me guide them to the most suitable area and company.”

Armed with membership lists from the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Greater Iowa City, Shannon then orchestrates monthly Zoom calls, fostering a collaborative environment for employers utilizing Talent Hub for workforce retention. The employer outreach also includes monthly email updates that highlight her progress, showcasing new resumes and providing insights into candidates’ motivations for working, living and growing within the community. However, if Shannon identifies a candidate that is an excellent fit for a company, she promptly sends a personalized note to the employer informing them of a prospective candidate worthy of their consideration.

In the face of ever-evolving workforce needs in our community, Shannon Hanson and the Talent Hub serve as an important link to progress forward. The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance stands behind this initiative, ensuring this invaluable resource remains readily accessible to our members. It’s important, and will consistently remain a top priority to the Economic Alliance. Learn more about resrouces for employers and jobseekers looking to work in the Cedar Rapids Metro.