Wichita’s Talent Pool – Keeping It Deep
Friday, January 31, 2014on
Part one of a four-part series on Young Professionals of Wichita By Suzy Finn Executive Director Suzy Finn (pictured) joined Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) staff in 2013. As an active member of YPW for several years, Finn served as an Ambassador for the organization and a member of the YPW Board of Directors. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Marquette University and master’s degree in business administration from Wichita State University. Roughly 20% of young adults in the Wichita metropolitan area leave our community each year, representing an estimated annual lost investment of $595 million, according to data shared during the ACT ICT presentations by the City. The Young Professionals of Wichita exists to help fight that brain drain from our city, with a mission of attracting, engaging, and retaining diverse young talent to effect positive change for a brighter future. In this series of four posts, I’ll tell you a more about the three major components of our mission statement and then tell you more about how you can impact the future talent pipeline of Wichita. Attract, Engage, Retain Since it was formed as a Chamber initiative in 2005, YPW has worked to attract to and retain in Wichita young professionals (YPs). In 2013, we added the word “engage” to our mission, because we recognize that a large part of retaining YPs is getting them engaged in and connected to the community. Through the 50-75 events our volunteers plan every year, we provide opportunities for our members to do just that. The focus of the events varies from professional development to purely social, with an opportunity for members to network at every event to build both professional and social networks. YPW also works with our corporate investors to attract YPs to Wichita through a few key initiatives. The first is our Intern Return program, which has a goal of connecting interns to YPs and the city so that when they get that full-time job offer, they won’t hesitate to accept it and return to Wichita for the long term. The second way we work with investors on attraction is by offering city tours for individuals they are recruiting to the city. This gives the recruits an opportunity to ask questions to YPW staff or volunteers about the city itself. Our volunteers get to share their passion for the city, and the potential employee gets candid answers about why those YPs choose to stay in Wichita. One of our partners in recruiting said: “Our partnership with Young Professionals of Wichita is invaluable! It is imperative that our vendors be an extension of the service we provide to our clients. YPW representatives are courteous, knowledgeable and customer service-focused and we appreciate the special touch they add in selling Wichita.” In 2013, YPW launched a third initiative to attract and retain college students to Wichita – the Launch Wichita website. With a focus on posting internship positions from companies in the Wichita metropolitan area, the site’s goal is to foster the internship culture in our community. Both YPW and the Chamber are working toward a goal of increasing the number of companies posting positions on the site from 30 in 2013 to more than 60 in 2014. This site is open to all college students, and we’ve had individuals from across the country register to find internships in Wichita. Our goal is to market this site to not only our local college students, but also those attending other state schools in Kansas and in the surrounding states. In my next post, I’ll share more about the importance of diversity and how we address that in YPW. Suzy Finn Executive Director Young Professionals of Wichita Post #2 - "The Diversity Difference"