RACINE COUNTY — Communities across the state continue to battle a years-long shortage of workers. Racine County is taking a unique approach to recruiting new talent.
Recruiters plan to pitch Racine County by bringing job seekers to town and showing them what it is like to live and work there.
People who have called Racine home for years say they stayed for good reason.
"It's a great place to raise kids. I raised four kids here," said Helen Morelan, who moved to Racine in 1995.
"I'd say the lakefront, water, beach, community and a great place to work," said Jessica Pichelman who grew up in the area.
"I would say the people and the community," said Kathy Andersen who is from Racine.
The Racine County Economic Development Corporation wants to spotlight those features and opportunities for growth to recruit new talent.
"We know that by 2021 there's going to be 5,500 open positions in Racine County. So we're all looking at this effort together and seeing how can we manage this pipeline of talent," said Kate Walker, talent recruitment specialist with RCEDC.
A collaborative effort, years in the making, targets job seekers in northern Illinois. This year they will offer potential new workers a weekend in Racine County. Sponsors would offset the cost of the recruiting trips.
"If they do decide they really like Racine County they already have the opportunity to talk to an employer and potentially have a job as an outcome of this weekend," said Walker.
Organizers are want to fill positions in healthcare, STEM, and manufacturing. The weekends will include networking events but also fun opportunities to explore and learn about the community, like a bonfire at North Beach or a trip to a local beer garden.
"It's going take years to actually see the migration of people coming in here but we know what we're doing is working because we're getting a lot of engagement and response to the digital campaign we're having," said Walker.
The tours and networking events are slated to start this summer. The new recruitment effort is just one way RCEDC is working to fill jobs.