I read an interesting article that makes a ton of sense, yet many of our small town employers have not implemented the idea – reaching students in High School early in their experience to help them see local opportunities. In this WSJ article by Dante Chinni, He quotes a local HR manager in a small town in Iowa, she stated what should be happening:
At Musco Lighting, which builds lighting systems for businesses and sports facilities, Shelly Herr, human resources manager, says the Oskaloosa company keeps an eye on local high-school students who show promise in engineering and establishes contact with them early, in some cases before graduation. The company also forms relationships with engineering professors at Iowa State University in an attempt to find students interested in Mahaska County’s rural lifestyle.
“If there is an Iowa State engineering student who wants to stay in Iowa, we’re going to start talking to that kid as a freshman,” Ms. Herr said.
This is the attitude that employers in small and rural counties are going to have to adopt to compete.