Visions: Gramza: Attracting, retaining talent key for regional developmentWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: This guest column is part of an annual special section called Visions, in which Toledo Free Press asks local economic development and business leaders to share what they see ahead for Toledo and Northwest Ohio in the coming year.
In my new role with the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, I had the opportunity to spend time with even more chamber members than usual in 2014.
Without fail, every company cited talent attraction and retention as one of its key challenges.
This came as no surprise, as people are the No. 1 asset of any organization. We must be able to grow local talent, recruit talent from other regions and hold on to talent when recruiters want to lure it elsewhere.
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As a first step toward connecting with emerging talent, the Chamber created EPIC Toledo in 2007. EPIC, which stands for Engaging People, Inspiring Change, is based on the belief that a region that is influenced by diverse young professionals is a region that can attract and retain them.
In 2009, the Toledo Region branding initiative was developed to promote the region’s quality of place and economic assets. Last year, the initiative enhanced its message with a new campaign: It Matters Where You Make It.
In 2015, the chamber’s main goal is to help companies in the region with their efforts to recruit top talent by promoting the diverse opportunities and benefits of working and living in the Toledo region.
We will accomplish this in two key ways. The first is to promote the diversity of jobs within the region, while the second is to showcase the quality of life that can be attained for those who relocate or choose to remain here. For those who wonder if there is a regional economic development strategy and if “all of those organizations talk to each other,” rest assured there is and we do.
While many groups throughout the region have economic development as a part of their mission, this does not necessarily mean that there is confusion or duplication. The business of growing our economy is complex and requires focus in key areas. When each organization focuses on what it does best and communicates regularly with the others, success is not only possible but likely.
The chamber is proud to play a key role in this regional effort through our advocacy efforts and member services. Our team is eager to move into this next phase of talent attraction and recruitment in 2015 as we illustrate for the world exactly why “It Matters Where You Make It.”
Wendy Gramza is president of Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.