HCEDP creates clearinghouse and ad campaign to help local employers fill high-demand jobs

AVON, INDIANA, October 5 — On any given day, more than a thousand high-paying jobs in Hendricks County go unfilled, despite unemployment in surrounding counties. That’s why the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership is partnering with local employers to launch an online clearinghouse for open jobs, along with a targeted multimedia advertising campaign to promote the openings.

Starting today, advertising on radio stations, outdoor billboards, and popular social media sites will spread the word that “Hendricks is Hiring!” The advertising directs interested applicants to HendricksJobs.com, a website that lists available positions with participating Hendricks County employers and includes links to help users apply.

“Hendricks County is suffering because of its own success,” explains HCEDP Marketing & Communications Director Jaime Johnson. “The county has long been a desirable destination for companies in logistics, advanced manufacturing, medical devices, and motorsports. But the growth has absorbed the available local workforce, driving the county’s unemployment rate well below the national average. That’s tough on companies that are still hiring. As more new employers open facilities, the number of vacancies grows.”

At HCEDP’s late August HR squaretable discussion, representatives from several area employers shared their frustration with their inability to obtain enough applicants. “I’m in need of 40 to 50 more people right now, and I just can’t get them,” notes Mark Wittenaur, HR Director from Exel Supply Chain, which manages the Johnson & Johnson distribution facility on Indiana 39 just north of Interstate 70. “We should be sitting at about 200 people, and we’re just not seeing enough applicants.”

Sandra Puttkammer, HR Generalist for TKO Graphix in Plainfield, echoed the challenge Exel faces in finding applicants. “In addition to regular turnover, we’re growing and adding positions, which makes it even more difficult,” she says.

Recognizing the importance of the logistics industry to the entire county’s economy, HCEDP Executive Director Cinda Kelley-Hutchings worked with Plainfield Town Council President Robin Brandgard to quickly arrange a series of meetings with 46 representatives from 27 Hendricks County employers. Based upon what the HCEDP staff heard, they developed the plan for “Hendricks is Hiring,” and presented it to HCEDP’s board, which approved it and provided most of the funding. Less than six weeks after employers initially expressed those concerns, the campaign will be calling attention to openings.

“It’s an eight-week campaign that combines radio and outdoor advertising with highly targeted social media,” Johnson notes. “We analyzed employment data to determine which nearby geographic areas had the highest unemployment, and selected media with a strong focus in those areas. The billboards direct people to the website, while the radio and social media components go into greater detail about the types of available positions.”

HCEDP invited employers to share details about vacancies. Companies who agreed to invest in the campaign also have links on the website that take visitors to their application process. “The campaign is expected to create more than 2.9 million impressions over the eight weeks, and the cost is less than a half-cent per impression,” Johnson adds, noting that if the outcome is successful, the advertising effort could be extended and expanded. “We’re hoping other employers decide to partner with us. More participation means more visibility, and that means more applicants for those positions.”

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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