1600. That’s the number of job openings that are posted online right now at WorkInAmes.com.
Did you know that Story County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state? This isn’t a new occurrence, this has been happening for quite some time with no end in sight. Our strong economy and steady growth in business has created an environment where the number of jobs created outpaces the population growth. While this is great for our workforce – it provides them with great opportunities and options – this is a significant challenge for our local business community.
Last fall the Ames Chamber of Commerce surveyed our members about their top challenges and what keeps them up at night. Overwhelmingly our members stated that the number one challenge facing them today is workforce development – attracting and retaining quality workforce for the many openings in Story County.
In response, the Ames Chamber has doubled-down on our efforts. We’ve added additional staff and allocated resources to help our members with their workforce efforts. Ames will continue to be a jobs center so it is critical that our organization is responsive to the needs of the Ames/Story County business community.
One of the hallmarks of our workforce development program is our job board – WorkInAmes.com – to connect businesses in Story County with job seekers. This is a free service that is open to all businesses and underwritten by a number of sponsors that support our efforts. This is the center point for jobs in our community and we market it extensively to a wide variety of key audiences across the United States and beyond.
New in 2019 is our sponsorship of the Technology Association of Iowa’s “Iowan Project”. As a sponsor we have access to a growing database of Iowa expats in the IT field from across the country. This effort reaches out to Iowa natives to remind them of all the great things about living in Iowa such as high-quality education, short commute times, and being nearer to family. Our job opportunities, community accolades, and quality of life will be highlighted in the organization’s newsletters and digital marketing efforts. We will also have the opportunity to participate in “meet up” events across the country to help promote the many opportunities in Ames and Story County. We are excited to see where this partnership will lead in the year to come.
In addition to recruitment efforts targeting those who are currently in the workforce, we continue to look for opportunities to engage our workforce of the future with our K-12 student population. We are excited to build on our efforts with SCALE and Ames Business Engagement Collaborative, two programs that connect students with local businesses to gain hands-on, real-world experience.
Encouraging ISU students to stay in Ames after they graduate is another opportunity for workforce development. To support this effort, each summer we host the “See Yourself in Ames” intern program. This series of events highlights Ames and Story County as the place to live, work, and play. This summer’s See Yourself in Ames events will connect students with community leaders like young professionals, ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard, ISU Multicultural Liaison Audrey Kennis, and local business owners Kelsey Carper and Lyndsey Fennelly.
This is just a handful of ways that the Ames Chamber of Commerce is working on behalf of local businesses to provide workforce solutions. But the support of the community makes these programs thrive.
Are you looking for a job? Or know someone who is? Help us spread the word about WorkInAmes.com. Together we can promote Ames and Story County as the #SmartChoice to live, work and do business.