The Resource Navigator

Ideas for Talent Attraction and Expansion


Expanding the Talent Pool

Develop targeted marketing campaigns for workers
Market local jobs and community life to draw new people
Coordinate outreach to draw area alumni back to the region
  • See Dakota Roots – telling stories to attract people with connections to S. Dakota
  • Make connections early, like Bulldogs in the Bluegrass that connects local college students to the community through internships and networking – or how about these ideas from rural Nebraska:  the mailbox program set up by Holt County Economic Development, the “I Love Valley County Flash Drive Presentation” in Ord and Valley County, student scholarships for training in high demand jobs in exchange for returning to Phelps County. In Henrico, VA their CTE program celebrates Letter of Intent Signing Day to celebrate students who are entering the workforce after graduation (Check out the news coverage here!). 
  • Communities in Michigan have developed “Back to Michigan” which organizes free social events for professionals who have made the trip home for the holidays and might consider relocating back to Michigan. The events offer the opportunity to meet with employers in a casual setting and explore what the employment possibilities are.
Provide job and support services for traditionally underrepresented groups
  • Inclusive ICR (Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, IA) works to help employers with diversity and inclusion strategies, offers networks and resources for diverse professionals, and helps diverse students connect with employers
  • Programs like Beacon of Hope Business Alliance and Urban Alliance offer training and support to help disadvantaged/marginalized people get jobs.
Support local and new members of the workforce
  • Clinton Regional Development Corporation worked with area communities to develop a Student Loan Payback Assistance Program which offers student loan repayment assistance to any qualified employee in Clinton County.
  • Wingman is a program designed to help newcomers to the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR) metro area learn about and build confidence in their new community. The program pairs newcomers with a “Wingman” – a community champion, or super connector to help them make connections and friends, and feel like part of the community. 

Improving Labor Market Efficiency

Address critical talent needs for targeted industries
Provide career planning support and information to key audiences
  • The Spokane Workforce Council developed the Passport to Career Success program – a free multi-media career platform for use by individuals, teachers and counselors. The Passport includes links to online sources of career planning exploration resources and tools, and will guides participants through all phases of launching a career.
Provide business led career learning experiences for young adults
Raise awareness about job openings and job search practices
Retaining Older Workers
  • Share information and ideas about recruiting/retaining older workers with employers such as in this article about retaining senior employees from, this best practices whitepaper on recruiting and retaining older workers from SHRM, and this article about accommodating older workers from Eightfold.
  • Some of those ideas for retaining older workers include:
    • Restructuring jobs: redesign jobs to accommodate older workers who develop disabilities due to the aging process. Offering more flexible hours, part-time or temporary assignments; creating jobs specifically utilizing the job skills of a retiree or older worker; and incorporating mentoring or coaching of newer professionals.
    • Scheduling:  some older workers see only two employment options: full-time work or retirement, when they want options somewhere in the middle. Consider offering alternative work arrangements, several of which may be attractive for many employees seeking greater flexibility to balance home and work:
    • Traditional part-time work or voluntary part-time work. Flexible work schedules around a core work period.
    • Nontraditional part-time work, such as having one week on and one week off.
    • Phased retirement, a gradual transition to retirement for older workers by reducing work hours over a period of time.
    • “Rehearsal retirement,” providing adults with the chance to work part time with their employer and to volunteer nonpaid hours at a nonprofit organization
    • Job-sharing arrangements that partner an older adult with a younger trainee.
    • Allowing employees to work seasonally for your organization, to transfer between work locations throughout the year, or to work remotely in months when they are out of the area (snow bird employees.)
  • Career Management: Ensure that employees at all ages and places in their career are having regular career planning discussions. Employers should avoid treating older workers differently or as if they don’t have the same career opportunities as other workers.
  • Training and Retraining:  Many employers once believed that older adults were not adept in learning new skills, but has proved that wrong. Employers are rethinking strategies for training and retraining employees and managers. Employers should not assume an older worker is unable or unwilling to learn a new technology or skill. Employers should fine-tune other features of training delivery to make them effective for workers over 50. For example:
    • Pace. Some older adults will learn at a slower pace than their younger counterparts. Accordingly, self-paced training may help.
    • Vision. Some older adults do not see as clearly as younger adults, so reading small print may be an issue. Content printed on glossy paper is often difficult to see, and so are low-contrast colors such as blues and greens. Use training materials with large print and high-contrast colors. Hang posters and other training materials at eye-level to support readers who wear bifocals.
    • Hearing. Some older adults may have hearing impairments and have difficulty hearing soft or high-pitched sounds. Trainers should project their voice, speak clearly, and reduce ambient noise.
    • Technology. Some older adults—especially those who have been out of the job market—might be uncomfortable with high-tech jargon, certain digital equipment and newer applications. Although older adults can master new high-tech skills, they may fear the unknown and could hesitate to ask for help to avoid being judged.
  • Caregiving: More employees are likely to need help providing care to adult loved ones, including parents, spouses and other family members. Benefits that assist caregivers, whether they are caring for a grandchild or an adult family member, are likely to be highly valued by many mature workers. Employers could consider providing help with the cost or delivery of personal care, emotional support, financial matters, legal assistance and transportation through employee assistance programs.
  • Sabbaticals:  Sabbaticals are now being used as an employee benefit to avoid employee burnout and to enhance performance. AARP offers its long-term employees the opportunity to take “Renewal”—a four- or six-week sabbatical during which the employee can take classes, travel, volunteer or just relax.
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