GREDF and community leaders meet to discuss workforce strategies
QUINCY, IL —
The Gem City has experienced record low unemployment numbers during the past year.
That's according to the Great River Economic Development Foundation.
Wednesday night, it hosted its annual meeting to discuss what's next for the area's workforce strategies.
Quincy's unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, slightly lower than the national average of 3.9 percent. While those numbers don't seem too far off, officials say there's still work to do.
"We need to promote the fact that we are a regional economy,” said GREDF President Marcel Wagner. “We are a regional medical center and so that is going to attract people to our community."
GREDF hosted its first meeting of the year Wednesday night. Wagner welcomed community leaders to discuss workforce development for the future.
"People think of what has Quincy done wrong because we have lost some of these retailers and it's nothing. It's a national trend,” Wagner said.
He says the area has many unfilled jobs right now. So, the foundation brought in nationally recognized expert Colleen Walton for a bit of advice.
"We are seeing a real push for local retails, local creators, local artist, local restaurants and that's a real draw when it comes to quality of life for young people,” Walton said.
She said cities such as Quincy need to be more cultivating.
"Look at aspirational communities, larger communities, maybe Peoria, the Quad Cities, and see what they are doing, and really set that as the bar when it comes to talent development, talent attraction and quality of life aspects,” explained Walton.
Here's what's next, Wagner said the GREDF board needs to look at ways to continue to be relevant.
Walton said the roles in communities are changing,
The roles of local retail, travel and tourism, and even schools, are becoming bigger factors.
She also says national events especially, such as an election, can change trends quickly.