Northeast Indiana Launches Brand for Talent Attraction

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FORT WAYNE -

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has unveiled a new brand aimed at attracting talent to the 11-county region. The organization says "Make It Your Own" was developed through a six-month process and is designed for businesses to use in their efforts to attract target talent from the ages of 21-45 to live and work in the the area. Kate Virag, vice president of marketing and strategic communications for the partnership, says the brand seeks to capture the region's "strong legacy of being a community of makers and doers."

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Virag said one of the goals is to show potential talent what they can do by choosing to locate in the region, and also empower employers to boost their talent attraction efforts.

"We have created a large number of resources for regional employers to use in their recruiting efforts," said Virag. "While we, as an economic development organization, will be doing marketing and talent attraction, we know that our employers are our best source of talent attraction because they have the jobs and they are selling this region every day. So we are enabling them with resources to really sell northeast Indiana as a wonderful community full of great quality of life amenities and a great cost of living and wonderful opportunities."

Michael Galbraith, director of the Road to One Million at the partnership, says they are targeting the 21-45 age demographic because that is the time when most people move.

"If you look at a demographic chart of when people move, there's an enormous spike between the ages of 20 and 39 and so we want to capture that because as people move, we want them to make that choice to come here to northeast Indiana," said Galbraith. "Second of all, that's where our sweet spot is in terms of trying to figure out what our value proposition is to talent and it's not that we don't have talent needs at a lower and older age; it's that when people are deciding to start their families and when they're deciding to settle down and put down roots, that's a really good age to be here in northeast Indiana."

The partnership says the region lost an average of 1,000 people annually to other communities between 2010 and 2015. Galbraith says they have more than 6,000 unfilled jobs in the region, but are continuing efforts to grow the population to 1 million people by 2030 and aggressive recruitment and retention efforts must continue to achieve that goal.

"We've moved beyond and era of hiring. We've really entered an era of recruiting," said Galbraith. "It's not enough just to say, 'Here's my job,' and expect people to come find you and apply for that. You've really got to chase down the best talent, so we want to make sure that we provide our employers with the best assist that they can get."

Virag adds the fight for talent is both "a sprint and a marathon" as they look toward the future.

"We're looking at marketing tactics now. We know we need to increase our workforce now for our regional employers," said Virag. "And we know we need to be looking out three, five, even 20 years, so there are short-term tactics and then we'll be just looking at how this brand evolves and really how do we invite new people into our community to really make it their own."

Virag says one of the goals is to show potential talent what they can do by choosing to locate in the region, and also empower employers to boost their talent attraction efforts.
Galbraith says they are targeting the 21-45 age demographic because that is the time when most people move.
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