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2016 Graduates Express Interest in Returning Home

Since 2012, Valley County Economic Development (VCED), the Ord Area Chamber of Commerce and Valley County Community Foundation Fund (VCCFF) have developed comprehensive youth engagement and retention efforts in order to create valuable experiences for youth in their hometown community. One component includes visits with Valley County seniors prior to their high school graduation. During the visits, students share their career interests, desire to return to Valley County and interest in owning their own business. They also receive an I Love Valley County flash drive loaded with videos and resources pertaining to the opportunities to live, work, play and give in our community.

Data collected from 2016 graduates in Ord and Arcadia is encouraging pertaining to the future growth of Valley County:

85% of students are pursuing post-secondary education
 15% of students are entering the workforce or joining the military following graduation
— 58% of graduates can see themselves returning to Valley County at some point in the future (comparable to 70%, 59% and 48% in previous years)
 56% of graduates express interest in owning their own business one day
— 46% of students interested in returning to Valley County have a desire to own their own business

Flash Drive Image

Connections with Valley County students provides a time to reinforce the message that opportunities exist in our county-wide community and resources are available to help them achieve their dreams whether those resources be local funds to start or purchase a business, mentor relationships as they pursue their business or career venture or the benefit of living and working in a thriving rural economy.

Extending a hand to graduates who desire to return to the community also helps fulfill local needs in terms of workforce and available products and services. Data from the 2014-2015 Business Visits conducted by Valley County Economic Development and the Ord Area Chamber of Commerce express the following needs and concerns:

71.5% of respondents rate local workforce availability as low
— At least 27.5  unfilled positions exist in the Valley County area
50% of businesses indicate their projected employment needs are increasing

Workforce 1

A more comprehensive summary of the 2014-2015 Business Visits can be found in the Chamber’s 2015 Annual Report on page 2.

It is also encouraging that many 2016 graduates expressed interest in fields that would help fill the gaps of available products and services offered in our local community. Their career and entrepreneurial  interests reside in the fields of agriculture, healthcare, law, education and skilled trades (HVAC, welding, auto body, construction and diesel mechanics) among others.

Valley County’s future is bright considering graduates’ genuine desire to return to our community and the welcoming and supportive environment local leaders work to offer alumni, newcomers and budding entrepreneurs.

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