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Task Force: Let's Attract and Retain Talent

Posted by GREATER MSP on Friday, March 6, 2015

 

Hear Why Talent Task Force Members Bert Colianni and Jamie Millard Think Now's the Time

for a Talent Attraction and Retention Effort in the Greater MSP Region

 

No regional effort exists here to retain and attract the professional talent critical to the success of this region. In response, GREATER MSP built a cross-sector, cross-generational Talent Task Force in 2014. This team worked to build the case for regional action on talent retention and attraction, shape a new brand platform or theme that will resonate with young talent, and design a regional plan of action. GREATER MSP is now working with members of the Task Force and dozens of other private, public and nonprofit partners to create action strategies connected to these goals.

 

Here are the viewpoints of Task Force members Bert Colianni and Jamie Millard on the work so far:



Bert Colianni, CEO, Marquette Companies


What was the most interesting thing you learned as a member of the Talent Task Force?
Maybe the adage that we’ve said here for years is true: It can be a difficult place to recruit people to come to but once people are here, their retention is among the best. We do show that for professionals with families we’re ranked No. 1 in the United States for retention. The other thing I was surprised to see was that retention of diverse workers really had a lot of opportunity for improvement.


What do you think is our biggest opportunity/challenge in retaining talent in the region?
I think the real challenge is going to be the attraction and retention of those educated diverse workers. Obviously, our community, the broader Minneapolis St. Paul region, is becoming dramatically more diverse. Statistics show that in the core cities the young diverse workers will become the majority of workers and we need to keep our strong talent here. In addition, we think a real targeted marketing approach to those places with four seasons like Chicago and Toronto could attract many talented professionals to our region. This region has so much more to offer than many others. The lifestyle is abundantly easier than my hometown Chicago. Arguably we’d beat the total lifestyle opportunity in Milwaukee here hands down. We have strong sectors and we have educated professionals in competitive cities who we’d like to attract for the opportunities we have here.


Looking ahead, what most excites you about the new talent retention and attraction initiative our region is starting to build?
What really excites me is that we genuinely see momentum and unity of purpose across the public and private sectors. It’s getting a lot of momentum in the educational institutions and corporations. We’re seeing strategies identified to work on talent attraction and retention of the workers we will need tomorrow.


 

Jamie Millard, Co-executive director, Pollen

 

What was the most interesting thing you learned as a member of the Task Force?
MSP ranks No. 1 among the top 25 U.S. metros for retention of its professional talent, but only No. 14 for communities of color. This wasn't surprising. But it has deeply reverberated in my core as something that our region can no longer avoid. I want every person who gushes about how wonderful these cities are to understand this narrative is not welcoming to everyone and that there is big work to do in improving our region's inclusiveness.


What do you think is our biggest opportunity/challenge in retaining talent in the region?
I see a direct correlation between improving our region's social inclusion with simultaneously improving our region's support of innovative talent. To truly be a place where innovation and new ideas can spark and stay, we have to better support diverse and non-normative narratives. Innovators who are "up-to-something" and "make-it-happen" not only succeed in diverse, multi-faceted communities, they depend on it.


Combining strategies and activities that break down our region's unwelcoming culture and tendencies towards having "invisible networks" while also empowering and enabling a stronger creative class supported to be the innovative entrepreneurs we know they can be.... that would be an unstoppable duo to truly make MSP a No. 1 region to live, work, and thrive.

 

Looking ahead, what most excites you about the new talent retention and attraction initiative our region is starting to build?
I see the most potential with improving our retention and development of current talent by working with other partners in the workforce pipeline — especially those organizations and institutions focused on narrowing MSP's critically high education gap. There is a huge coalition of smart and capable partners already working on this — and making progress — but I will get REALLY excited to see these conversations collide. In order to truly make MSP a thriving region, it means not leaving behind any of our communities. My feelings on this can best be summed up by the famous Paul Wellstone quote, "We all do better when we all do better."

 

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