Objective: Connect, promote, and expand resources that help Wichita Falls firms recruit talent from outside the region to meet workforce needs and enhance the overall talent base.
The first three Key Initiatives in the “Grow a Talented Workforce” goal focus on better retaining individuals who are already part of Wichita Falls’ talent pipeline. Conversations with local business leaders revealed, however, that hiring for some positions requires identifying candidates from outside the Wichita Falls region. Stakeholders said this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future, particularly for in-demand occupations that are difficult to fill even in the nation’s most dynamic economies.
Business leaders said it can be difficult to recruit qualified candidates from outside the region. To address this issue, partners in Wichita Falls have developed several tools and resources. The Chamber prepared a relocation guide that highlights the benefits of Wichita Falls as a place to call home. And in 2019, the City of Wichita Falls approved the WFEDC’s recommendation to fund an Employee Relocation Incentive Program. The program offers employers in certain “export-oriented” business sectors an incentive ranging from $4,000 to $8,000 to recruit new employees from outside the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area. Employers receive the incentive after the individual is employed for six months.
Stakeholders said the relocation guide and incentive program have been welcome developments, but many firms remain unaware of their existence. This Key Initiative seeks to address this challenge by “packaging” the community’s existing efforts into a branded talent relocation assistance program. The initiative also recommends new efforts, including a custom website for individuals considering relocating and assistance with candidate identification for firms that lack experience or expertise with out-of-market recruiting.
- KC Heartland / Share the Love (Metro Kansas City, MO-KS)
- Ask a Local (Omaha, NE)
1. Create a branded talent relocation initiative to package and promote new and existing resources
- Develop an identity for the community’s relocation assistance offerings; consider repurposing the “Choose Wichita Falls” label for relocation assistance programs
2. Launch a custom website for individuals considering relocating to Wichita Falls
- Work with public and private partners to develop a website geared toward talented individuals from other regions who may be considering relocating to Wichita Falls; highlight key resources and quality of life and quality of place assets
- Promote the website to local companies that hire out-of-market talent and ensure that the site is search engine optimized and visible on social media platforms to reach potential relocation candidates searing for information about Wichita Falls
- Work with the Wichita Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau to identify potential synergies between talent marketing and destination marketing activities
3. Promote the Employee Relocation Incentive to Wichita Falls companies
- Leverage business retention and expansion (BRE) activities, Chamber membership, small business services, and other channels to increase awareness about employee relocation assistance
- Establish a numeric goal of number of individuals and/or firms assisted through the incentive program per year and over the anticipated lifespan of the initial WFEDC investment
- Work with the WFEDC and employers to develop and track metrics to monitor the initiative’s success; seek qualitative feedback from participating employers on program satisfaction and opportunities for improvement
- If successful, seek resources to expand the program in terms of size and/or scope (e.g., supporting firms in health care or other key industries outside of the initial program design)
- Work with the Busines Equity Initiative (see Key Initiative #12) to provide best-practice guidelines for companies seeking to recruit diverse talent from outside the Wichita Falls region
4. Provide pooled candidate identification services for smaller firms without sufficient capacity
- Assist small employers in export-oriented industries (e.g., manufacturing) with advertising for and identifying out-of-market candidates; utilize career and resume websites, proprietary labor market data, and Chamber staff capacity to carry out work
- Promote the availability of the Employee Relocation Incentive to offset moving costs; resource other assistance services on a fee-for-service basis or offer the program as an investor or member benefit