December End of Month Update
An end of year message can be challenging because it always aspires to condense the year that was, which is impossible. Therefore, I will not attempt to summarize the past twelve months, but rather talk about how our organization connects with our community as we move into 2023.
I have always seen our organization as one who celebrates our communities. It is one part of this job (of many parts) that brings me joy. We celebrate new businesses, economic development projects, and host events that bring vibrancy to our communities. The question is how do we share this information with our community?
Communication is complicated. I am amazed, yet not surprised, at how often I have conversations with people who do not know things that I thought were common knowledge. It’s not their fault. We all have a robust amount of information available to us that it is difficult to manage it all. For us at the Ames Chamber of Commerce, it is important that we approach both digital and analog forms of communication to help educate and inform our members and communities.
Today, digital media is a requirement for most organizations, including ours. Social media is a utility communication channel and a great way to immediately share information. I have also seen it be a wonderful digital networking opportunity and to publicly acknowledge great work. But even with that, social media has some pitfalls. Content can go unseen if the timing is not right, and only those who choose to engage with your channels have access to that information.
As an organization that has a reach across our entire community, we aspire for more. Our solution: Traction, a new quarterly, print publication from the Ames Chamber of Commerce. When we were brainstorming Traction, we sought to find ways to share some of the amazing things that are happening to our entire community. With a circulation of over 20,000, I think we are doing that.
Traction is not just about our organization, but about communicating what is happening across our communities. It will include member business profiles, events, and feature stories about economic development projects that you may not be aware of. We will talk about Downtown Ames, FUEL, our young professionals organization, and workforce development initiatives, among many other topics.
One of the things that excites me the most about this publication is that we will have an expanded opportunity to tell more stories. There are amazing people and incredible businesses across the Ames MSA, and we hope that these stories encourage you to invest your money locally and it builds pride in the community that we have chosen to call home.
President & CEO
Ames Chamber of Commerce
Recruiting and retaining workforce continues to be the number one business concern across Story County regardless of the size of an organization. There is a tool specified to Iowa that can be utilized to assist employers in understanding the nature and characteristics of a regional workforce in a unique way.
Laborshed studies are supply-side, labor availability studies. They are designed to assist community leaders, economic developers, site selectors, and existing or prospective employers with a flexible tool to understand the workforce characteristics of their local labor market. A laborshed is defined as the area or region from which an employment center draws its commuting workers. It shows the distribution of these workers regardless of political boundaries.
Laborshed studies also address underemployment, availability of labor and likeliness of the employed or not employed to change or accept employment. Other topics covered within a laborshed analysis include current and desired occupations, wages, hours worked, job search resources, and distance willing to commute to work.
The laborshed study for Story County was recently updated. Here are some of the key findings of the update:
These are just a few of the many data points of information that can be found in the study results.
Iowa Workforce Development has an interactive website that features all the laborshed studies available in the State of Iowa at: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/laborshed-studies.
Our Workforce Solutions staff at the Ames Chamber of Commerce are here to assist you should you have questions regarding utilization of the Story County laborshed.
Brenda Dryer, Vice President, Ames Chamber of Commerce
Nikki Fischer, Director, Workforce Development & Diversity
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