One of the biggest complaints common with Northwest Arkansas’ employers is that the region is a hard sell to those who never visited the area. The Northwest Arkansas Council seeks to change that with a new website marketing the growing region of more than 500,000 people.
The Finding NWA website provides recruiters working for those companies and out-of-state job seekers with information about living and working in the region, but the overall program will continue to evolve as new needs are identified.
“We hear consistently from our region’s corporate recruiters that we need more effective ways to tell a cohesive Northwest Arkansas story,” said Mike Malone, Council president and CEO. “The photographs, text, graphics, videos and statistics about Northwest Arkansas on the Finding NWA website provide a full picture of what our region is, and it demonstrates we’re headed in a good direction.”
The website also contains business-focused information that can provide company executives and site selectors with a single online location containing about everything a company may want to know about the region’s business climate, business costs, workforce, the region’s economy, its amenities and its cities.
Research and surveys conducted by the Council have found that beyond being the home of Wal-Mart Stores, Tyson Foods and the University of Arkansas, many people around the U.S. knew little else about Northwest Arkansas. A 2015 study commissioned by the Council and completed by DataRank to better understand digital conversations about the region provided insight into what people were saying about Northwest Arkansas. The Council said this insight helped to guide the development of the new website
The website is part of the Council’s mission because it supports business industry with talent recruitment. A goal was for the Council to better promote the region’s culinary, music, arts and outdoor experiences and demonstrate a strong quality of life focus that also supports recruiting and retaining new talent.
“One of our goals will be to make sure the recruiters know the newest information about the region,” said Anna Clark, who leads the Finding NWA program for the Council. “Corporate recruiters already do fantastic work, and we’ll do all we can to ensure that more job candidates who live far from Arkansas know about our region. … Relocating to a new region for a job can be complicated and intimidating, and we want to help people ease into Northwest Arkansas.”
The region boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.8% as of May, and there are dozens of jobs that go unfilled because there are not qualified candidates applying. Jack Murders, plant manager for toolmaker Marshalltown Company in Fayetteville, has told Talk Business & Politics that workforce constraints are an ongoing issue as the company continues to expand its local business. He said there are not enough maintenance and tool and die engineers to meet demand.
Superior Industries in Fayetteville is experiencing similar constraints. Blake Nielsen, a former industrial engineering graduate of the University of Arkansas, was recently recruited back to Fayetteville by Superior from Briggs and Stratton in Poplar Bluff, Mo.