Friday, October 5, 2007

Grow the Future- Part 3: Talent Attraction and Amenities Key Factor in Owensboro Growing Entrepreneurs

Talent and quality of life are two issues that go hand-in-hand in our strategy to attract and grow entrepreneurs in Greater Owensboro. Quality of life and amenities are the Number One Factor in young people choosing a place to live. Greater Owensboro must give equal weight to the attraction, development and retention of a young professional workforce as has been given to the attraction of new companies. To do this the community, through the Grow the Future Partnership, will develop a strategy to both develop and recruit human capital to the region.

Human capital plays a much more important role in the success of companies and communities. Skilled human capital is at a premium. Not only do employees switch jobs more often, the growth rate of the workforce is slowing. Cities today are competing furiously to attract and retain the coveted demographic: highly skilled workers ages 25-44. Research has shown that young professionals such as these look for a place to live first, and then they find a job, as a result quality of life amenities are critical in attracting and retaining this age group.

It is no longer the job that is the lure, it is the community itself. The good news is that many entrepreneurs are choosing smaller towns to avoid business unfriendly environments of large urban areas. But a vibrant scene of entertainment, arts, and a thriving downtown-- with residential areas, loft spaces and an “urban village” --can serve as a magnet in attracting people here. One glance at the Inc. 500 list of high growth companies and you will notice that many entrepreneurs are growing their companies in towns and regions much like Owensboro!

Finally, our partnership will work to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in our young people to let them know that they can create opportunities for themselves and compete in a global marketplace right here in Owensboro. Programs such as Junior Achievement- high tech style-- and enhanced opportunities in science, technology, and engineering at our high schools, colleges, and universities will get our young people excited about applying the technology that surrounds them into commercial ventures at home. All will help cultivate an entrepreneurial culture to “Grow the Future.”

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