Michigan Smart Coast Website Launched to Help Recruit Talent

Posted in News on August 19, 2016

Ottawa County, Michigan – At a time when Ottawa County is experiencing the lowest unemployment levels in the state, employee recruiters and human resource professionals have a new tool to assist in attracting workers to West Michigan. The Michigan Smart Coast website at www.michigansmartcoast.com serves to connect early-stage professionals to career and lifestyle opportunities, with cost of living information, community descriptions, products made in the region, links to temporary housing and content and design targeted toward attracting young professionals to the area.

“Regional partners and human resource professionals identified the need for a community platform to communicate with potential out-of-area employees about living in our region, especially for those early in their careers,” said Jennifer Owens, president, Lakeshore Advantage. “This website tells our story that West Michigan is the place to start and further your career while experiencing life fulfillment and connectedness through personal and professional opportunities.”

The Michigan Smart Coast brand is managed by Lakeshore Advantage as an economic development tool to support primary employers in the area. Lakeshore Advantage surveys area businesses each year to identify needs specific to helping them grow here. Talent attraction and retention are top priorities for primary employers in the area, especially now as Ottawa County is the fastest growing county in Michigan, and has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at three percent (May 2016). The Michigan Smart Coast website serves to help fill the talent attraction gap for employers, giving them a tool to share with new recruits so they can get a taste of what life is like along Michigan’s Smart Coast.

The website features duality messaging, such as “Beachtowns. Downtowns,” and “Find Home. Find Purpose,” to show a sense of place and connectedness that research indicated was important to the early-stage professional demographic. The site includes links to temporary housing and apartments, volunteer opportunities, descriptions of West Michigan communities, events, career opportunities, videos and products made in West Michigan.

Research that shaped the website design and content was conducted through five separate focus groups with the targeted demographic, chamber partners and employers. Key research findings that drove features on the website included the desire for new recruits to feel connected to the region, with a place to find recreation, group events and volunteer opportunities. Other options, such as how to find temporary housing, and curiosity about other businesses, including depth of industry in the region to support career growth once the individual moved here, were also important to early-stage professionals. 

In addition to attracting early-stage professionals through the website, the Michigan Smart Coast brand aims to attract and retain college interns and affinity groups with high professional concentrations in our area, such as designers and engineers, through social media and events. A Michigan Smart Coast hands-on experience was attended by nearly 60 practicing engineers at Yanfeng Human Factors Research Lab yesterday, giving engineers a first-hand look into the consumer research that influences product design being done in our region. Michigan Smart Coast and community events are featured in the events section of the website.

About Michigan Smart Coast
Michigan Smart Coast is a brand representing West Michigan with the goal of retaining and attracting talent to the region. West Michigan communities and employers are welcome to and encouraged to adopt the Michigan Smart Coast brand as it suits their employee recruiting efforts. Lakeshore Advantage founded the brand to support area human resource professionals in their efforts to secure talent so that their companies can grow. More at www.michigansmartcoast.com.