Wyoming grown Program seeks to recruit former residentsWritten by Natasha Wheeler
“We are looking for welders, bankers and engineers. We are looking for schoolteachers. We are looking for anybody who has an interest in returning to Wyoming,” stated Governor Matt Mead.
Wyoming Grown, a program from Wyoming Workforce Services, is designed to attract former residents back to the state by connecting them with career opportunities.
“We know we have some great job and career opportunities in Wyoming. We also know that we have shipped a lot of our young people to other states because they didn’t feel like they had an opportunity for a career here,” commented Mead in a press conference introducing the program on May 11.
By connecting with employers and former residents, the Wyoming Grown program was built with intentions to change that attitude.
“We know from a retention standpoint that it is easier to fill positions with people who understand our Wyoming communities and really have that desire to be back in those communities and want to stay there,” explained Wyoming Workforce Services Director Joan Evans.
Individuals who drop their resume into the digital drop-box on the Wyoming Grown website will receive a welcoming letter from Governor Mead, as well as individual assistance with job placement.
“We will begin working with them, determining what community they want to live in within the state and letting them know about what new opportunities might exist in that community,” Evans said.
People who have been out of the state for a while may not be aware new possibilities that have become available in the last five, 10 or more years.
“We are going to be doing a lot of highlights of our communities and what they look like. If people lived here 20 years ago, they may have a different impression of what our communities have to offer and how they are working all the time to be viable and great places to live,” she continued.
The Wyoming Grown website also has a portal for referrals, so people who have friends or family who might be interested can help them get in touch with the program.
“A parent or a grandparent can say, ‘I’ve got an individual. Here is their address. Please contact them,’” noted Mead.
The “Refer Someone” link is located at the top of the webpage, next to the “Upload Resume” link.
“We have patterned the program somewhat around what South Dakota did. Their program is called ‘South Dakota Roots,’ and they have enjoyed good success,” Mead added.
Reaching out to employers in the state is also an important component of the Wyoming Grown program.
“Partnerships are really the key here,” stated Evans.
Connections with the University of Wyoming and community colleges, city Chambers of Commerce, state agencies, state parks, the Wyoming Business Council and employers such as BP are all integral to the program’s success.
“The list will continue to grow as we engage these groups in spreading the word to people they see and work with every day,” Evans explained.
Employers who need to fill positions can reach out to the Wyoming Grown program as another way to connect to potential employees.
“It is about creating those networks, which we are really good at and known for here in Wyoming,” she added.
The program will also be shared through social media including Facebook and Twitter.
“We are trying to highlight some of the sectors in our economy that we are growing and that we want to grow,” Evans continued. “We want to be able to fill those in-demand jobs.”
Wyoming Grown uses labor market information through their research and planning division to target appropriate workforce sectors.
“We want to be responsive. Healthcare might be the hot topic right now, but in six months we might be talking about something else. We have the labor market information, and we work with our employers so that we know what they need,” she said.
“What would people do if they had a few extra hours in the day because they weren’t commuting?” asked Wyoming Workforce Services Director Joan Evans in introducing the Wyoming Grown program on May 11. “Our tax structure is very nice. What would they do if they had a few extra dollars?”
The new Wyoming Grown program is was to highlight the advantages of living and working in Wyoming.
“Wyoming is a great place to raise a family,” noted Governor Matt Mead.
In any given year, nearly 60 percent of young people leave Wyoming, and Wyoming Workforce Services is trying to reverse that trend.
“It’s not uncommon for young people to want to do something different. This program is designed to say, after they’ve lived away for a few years, they might have a reason or a desire to come back to Wyoming,” Evans said.
The Governor believes that former residents may not be aware of emphasis the state puts on improving education or how Wyoming is diversifying in economy and technology.
Mead explained, “We think that, with Workforce Services and myself reaching out to people, we can make it known to them that we would love to have them back in Wyoming.”
By reaching out to people who grew up in the state or spent a lot of time here, Wyoming Grown is hoping to attract a workforce that appreciates the state for what it is.
“They know Wyoming and what it’s all about, so if we can recruit them back to the state, it’s a perfect match,” commented Mead.