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Northern Shenandoah Valley Talent Attraction Marketing Strategy Recommendations Released

Post Date:02/04/2020 4:00 PM
BERRYVILLE, VA (Feb. 4, 2020) New York City-based Development Counsellors International (DCI) has completed its plan and recommendations for a “Shenandoah Valley Talent Solutions Strategy” for the Northern Shenandoah Valley. This effort is the result of a partnership between Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Page and Warren counties and the City of Winchester after the localities collectively received a $64,800 “Enhanced Capacity Building” grant through Go Virginia in December 2018.

DCI studied the obstacles that young adults and employers in the region face when entering or remaining in middle-skill and high-skill jobs. Efforts focused on current job seekers, university and community college graduates, and high school students. The goal was to identify targeted recruitment and retention strategies that will 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 business owners, educators, young professionals, and future workforce candidates. These interactions helped DCI gain an unbiased perspective on the area’s strengths and weaknesses as well as form an outsider’s perception of the Valley, including thoughts on living and working in this area and priorities when selecting an area to relocate.

Here are some of the top takeaways from these conversations:  
• 46 percent of respondents who are currently enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary institution would like to stay in the region. However, 38 percent are not confident they will find a job in the region that meets their skill and/or salary requirements.  
• 89 percent of employers would hire or would consider hiring employees who require additional training. Of those, 90 percent would be willing to pay for the additional training required by job candidates.
• 64 percent of external talent said “yes,” they would relocate to the region if offered a job that provided free and/ or reduced-cost training that allowed them to change their career path and/or upgrade their skills.  

Based on research and best practices, DCI recommends a strategy that includes major marketing tactics the region can use to promote its career and lifestyle opportunities to internal and external talent. These suggestions will 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. Some examples include:

• a regional website focused on information about 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 and social advertising to reach target audiences in the target markets DCI identified
• a regional, winter break internship event 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 included in this effort.

For information about economic development in Clarke County, contact County Administrator Chris Boies at (540) 955-5191 or cboies@clarkecounty.gov. Visit the county office in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center at 101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville, Virginia.
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