More than 2,000 open jobs
The Branson and Taney County area have a puzzle to solve: How do they find and integrate 2,000 employees to fill current job openings?
To tackle this problem, local organizations have been recruiting from Puerto Rico, where the unemployment rate is higher than the rest of the United States. More than 200 Puerto Ricans have already moved to the Branson area as a result of these focused recruitment efforts.
Recruitment is only phase one
Attracting a new workforce is only the first step Branson employers must take to solve their puzzle. The next step is to keep that workforce around to help the economy grow in the long-term.
Moving can be hard. It’s even more difficult when you move to a place with an entirely different culture and demographic. Branson employers must make these new residents feel welcome—make them feel at home in southwest Missouri, in order to retain the recruits from Puerto Rico and more than a dozen other countries.
Local groups have begun organizing trainings to help employers do just that.
Rolling out the welcome wagon
In late February 2018, Big Cedar Lodge, CoxHealth, Commerce Bank, and the Ozarks Workforce Development Board sponsored a training led by a diversity coach from Washington, D.C. The course was designed to help business managers find common ground with the Puerto Rican workforce and find ways to welcome them in the Branson community.
This training revealed a need for the Branson community to better understand its changing demographics. It demonstrated an employer demand for new communication tools to successfully integrate newcomers from other nations.
How MDI is helping
To meet these needs the Taney County Partnership, an area economic development consortium, contacted the Management Development Institute (MDI) at Missouri State University. MDI offers public seminars and custom trainings to help employers tackle workforce challenges.
MDI will help Branson employers meet these new challenges with a new course, Cultural Competence. Taking place next month, Cultural Competence will emphasize the importance of diversity in the workplace and give local employers tools to further embrace new employees from different cultures.
Cultural Competence is scheduled for May 10, 2018 and will be facilitated by Alia Stowers. Alia is a leadership consultant from southwest Missouri who specializes in working with managers and teams to create engaging work environments.