By: Sarah Moylan, director – Team Talent, Greater Omaha Chamber
I call them our “gut check” moments – those times in our lives when circumstances drill straight to the core: What are we made of? Our region had a “gut check” on Oct. 1, when ConAgra announced its plan to uproot corporate headquarters and lay-off local 1,000 workers. Those workers are grappling with their personal “gut checks” right now, deciding what’s next and best for them and their families. Stay here? Seek out opportunities elsewhere? And, it was a “gut check” for me as the Chamber’s Director of Talent + Workforce and someone who loves this community.
I’ll admit – I was shocked. This was a blow to our region and hundreds of talented people who live here. I couldn’t really wrap my head around the fact that a company would uproot lives and move its headquarters. I was affected through a ripple effect but many people whom I had worked with for years and considered friends were directly affected by this decision. What was their world like? How could I help them?
We knew the Chamber needed to do something. We leapt into action and pulled together a group business leaders to throw some ideas on the wall on how start we could keep these highly-skilled and talented workers in our region.
Those initial 12 companies had 600 open positions paying $80,000+. Knowing that gave us great momentum that there were plenty of opportunities out there beyond the 12 companies – we just had to connect job seekers to them. That pool has since grown to 177 companies with more than 4,200 ‘mid-level and above’ career opportunities. More companies are contacting us every day about accessing this bank of workers.
The shock has worn off. The excitement of implementing creative solutions and helping our friends out of this crummy situation is fueling my fire…our fire. I hope these efforts help bring reassurance to those who lost jobs and acquired uncertainty; reassurance that local companies are hiring and a flood of great opportunities exist. Right here. Right now. Reassurance that we’re in this together.
Our team at the Chamber is working day-in and day-out to ensure our displaced workers have the resources and information they need to connect with potential new employers – and that employers see this setback as an opportunity to recruit talent now on the market and use it to benefit their companies.
- WeDontCoast.com/jobs has been created to gather contact information for those seeking employment and connect them to job opportunities.
- Companies looking to be connected with displaced workers can submit their information at http://bit.ly/WereInThisTogether.
I want Omaha’s talent to stay in Omaha. That’s my focus. If you are one of the displaced workers, take advantage of the resources available – and plan to continue making your mark right here. Together, we’ll get through this “gut check,” and as is most often the case, we’ll emerge stronger than ever.