EDAWN drafts plan to assist college recruiters | nnbw.com
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EDAWN drafts plan to assist college recruiters

John Seelmeyer

Recruiters from northern Nevada companies commonly spend much of their time at campus job fairs talking about reasons that soon-to-graduate students should consider living in Greater Reno-Tahoe, and individual job openings get less attention.

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, however, is pitching a plan in which the economic development agency would soften up college-area markets with advertising and media releases about the region before recruiters arrive.

EDAWN also suggests that northern Nevada companies join forces at campus job fairs, helping students to understand that a multitude of job opportunities are available in the region.

Assuming enough companies and human-resources organizations sign on, EDAWN plans to conduct the first of its focused campus recruiting missions next spring, followed by two or three during the next school years.

While no decision has been made about the first campus that would be targeted, the University of Washington appears to have some potential, said Lorna Shepard, whose Red Dog Consulting is researching the question for EDAWN.

The Seattle school, she noted, provides graduate-level degrees in all of the industries targeted by EDAWN’s Target 2010 plan for economic development.

Graduate students are particularly interesting to recruiters, she said, because they’re a few years older than undergraduates and are likely to be more interested in the balance of work and recreation opportunities that’s one of the big sales points for the region.

Recruitment of skilled workers is one of the priorities in EDAWN’s plans, and the search for staff continues to be a major challenge for many employers in the region.

Once EDAWN and the companies involved in the campus recruiting program decide what school they want to target, EDAWN will pepper the university and its surrounding community with paid advertising about the quality of life and the “Welcome to Can Do” spirit of business in the region.

The economic development agency also will work with Development Counselors International, a New York City firm that specializes in marketing places, on a public relations plan to get media coverage of the Reno-Tahoe area into publications in the target market, said Julie Ardito, EDAWN’s director of public relations.

Once the market is warmed up with advertising and PR, Shepard said recruiters from individual companies can talk with students about specific employment opportunities.

It’s important, she said, that companies from northern Nevada cluster together at campus job fairs maybe even sharing a single, large booth so that graduates realize the number and variety of career options available in Greater Reno-Tahoe.

EDAWN estimates the costs of the first targeted campus recruitment project at $175,000. Once start-up costs are covered, the expense of future campus recruiting probably would run less than $100,000 per campus, said EDAWN President Chuck Alvey.

As they’re talking with companies that might sign on with the program, EDAWN executives say a concerted focus on campus recruiting an effort that raises awareness of Reno-Tahoe, its many job opportunities and the jobs available at individual companies is cost-effective. Shepard notes that some companies estimate recruitment costs at as much as 150 percent of the annual salary of the vacant position.

While EDAWN has been looking primarily at West Coast schools for its first campus recruiting effort, Alvey noted that the agency also continues to look to the University of Nevada, Reno, as a primary source of skilled workers to meet the needs of the region’s diversifying economy.


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