Talent recruitment: Hey, Bay City! focuses on reversing the decline in populationTalent recruitment:

Michigan is developing statewide programs to recruit people to work in our businesses and grow our population.

In Bay County, we’re not waiting for statewide efforts to bear fruit.

In 2022, Hey, Bay City! debuted. The popular program tells positive stories about the people and businesses in the area.

Through a podcast, website, and social media platforms, Hey, Bay City! shines the spotlight on local people, highlights attractions and events, and showcases job postings. It offers positions at every level, from entry-level jobs to director roles. It is currently seeking manufacturing and health care workers, which are in high demand.

Hey, Bay City! has connected more than 40 people with opportunities in the area.

Michigan’s population has been declining over the past five decades and is dropping in rank compared to the rest of the country in population growth, jobs, earnings, educational achievement, health, and the quality of public services at the state and local levels.

Statewide, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation address talent recruitment and a dwindling population with a new $20 million initiative, “You Can In Michigan,” a talent attraction campaign aimed at filling positions, growing the population, and strengthening the economy.

The statewide initiative showcases Michigan’s strengths via TV commercials, radio spots, ads, and social media. A new website, The Michigan Life, helps job seekers calculate the cost of living while exploring the state.

Photo courtesy of the Bay Area Chamber of CommerceSara Parker, Director of Workforce Development for the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.Sara Parker, Director of Workforce Development for the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, hopes Hey, Bay City! helps fill a similar need here.

Hey, Bay City! partners with workforce development agencies across the state such as Bay Future, the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, and Michigan Works! The program also has the support of Bay City, Bay County, McLaren, Saginaw Valley State University, and Dow.

Parker, who was born in Bay County and now raises her family here, says Hey, Bay City! takes a proactive approach to recruiting talent for the region.

In the podcast, Phil Eich interviews local business owners, employees, job seekers, and influential community members hoping to show people reasons to move to Bay County.

“Hey, Bay City! is an American Rescue Plan Act-funded platform for storytelling, job opportunities, job seekers, and events in Bay County,” Parker says. “Its main function is to help stimulate the talent acquisition and population issue we are facing here in Bay County. We serve as a ‘white glove service,’ hand select our job seekers, and set them up with the correct opportunities in our area.”

Parker says Hey, Bay City! is a visible presence at career fairs and expos.

“We take a very hands-on approach with meeting with our employers, job seekers, and students,” Parker says.

Hey, Bay City! acknowledges our local challenges, the biggest being lack of a regional transportation system and quality, affordable housing.

“We are working with our housing summits and transportation programs to potentially come up with a better idea of how to overcome this,” Parker says.

The program also tries to show young people the benefit of staying in the region where they were raised. To accomplish that, Hey, Bay City! interacts with schools throughout the area through mock job interviews and a program called Bite of Reality, which teaches fiscal responsibility.

Statewide and local initiatives showcase all that Michigan offers in hopes of encouraging local kids to seek jobs here and other people to apply for local jobs and move here.Parker participates in multiple resource fairs targeting youth, including the Bay City STEM Fest, set for Sat., June 8.

“We are hoping this will open up a newfound interest in STEM-related industries and have the students actively seek employment in these areas especially,” Parker says.

Parker believes Hey, Bay City! has made an impact and is excited when a new resume gets sent over or a student’s eyes light up when hearing about new opportunities within the region.

“My main goal is to leave a lasting impact on my community. I selfishly want to create opportunities for my daughter, so she doesn’t have to move away to find her version of success,” says Parker.

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