What is your community’s purpose, vision and objectives for creating jobs?
Creating the end of uncertainty
There is a lot of uncertainty floating around about motivation and creating new jobs. And there’s a lot of uncertainty floating around because people usually approach job creation in the wrong way.
The one thing that can help a community to create new jobs, not just any jobs, but jobs for the future, is a for the community to have a clear vision for people to get behind. A clear vision can motivate the whole community, is can be very powerful and is something that will persist until the right number of jobs are created and beyond.
“Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Whether we give our children a future of more or a future of less – this, too, is a choice”. Martin O’Malley
Slow-growing and shrinking rural communities might find that their policies are not bringing the prosperity they seek, while fast-growing rural areas at the edge of metropolitan regions face metropolitan-style development pressures.
Create your vision for an endless supply of real jobs for the future
No matter whether you are in a regional, rural or remote community you can create new jobs just as easily as they do in big cities. But like the big cities, you must identify and build on your strengths and have the community working with you.
A problem with many regional, rural and remote communities is that the movers and shakers are getting old and have been flogged to death. There is a need for new blood with new energy and new ideas so that a vision can be created around the new possibilities opening up.
Let’s look at four areas as examples that could be incorporated into your vision:
- Opportunities with technology.
- The ageing population.
- The influx of migrants.
- Tourism initiatives.
Opportunities with Technology
New possibilities will involve technology in one form or another. We live in a globalised world that is shrinking, becoming highly competitive and is driven by the exponential growth of the technology industry.
Not since the invention of the motor vehicle has there been such great opportunities for regional, rural and remote communities. Technology and communications are creating more opportunities for jobs than ever before
People don’t have to work in big cities anymore, they can work from anywhere at any time. This means that communities have an opportunity to make their lifestyle opportunities attractive. Attractive enough that people will come and want to live there while bringing with them more job opportunities.
A new business can set up in a small regional community and communicate as effectively as their city counterparts. They can all set up value chains across a region or across the world creating even more jobs.
It might be time to take a second look at the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data, mobility, social media, robotics, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a host of other new technologies. Don’t underestimate the power of content marketing with your website and social media in creating jobs along with the rise in home-based businesses.
It is also in rural communities where technologies in agriculture and the environment are giving birth to many new businesses and high-paying jobs.
The ageing population
Is your community ready for the crisis of the ageing population? Most are not and the possibilities opening up jobs for our ageing populations are endless.
With plenty of people just about to hit retirement age, most of them do not have a retirement plan in place, which could be a good place to start. How can you help these people live a retirement they have either dreamt about or would simply like to have.
It is estimated that there are more than half a million seniors across the world and growing. While only a small percentage are prepared, many know exactly what they want and will go anywhere to find what they want.
Creating a niche here could create many jobs for people of all ages, both full and part time while enriching the community at the same time, and there is plenty of room for growth. Keep in mind lifestyles in regional areas are more conducive to a quite, invigorating and more friendly environment.
The influx of migrants
The immigration system is groaning under the influx of new migrants and their settlement.
So what are the problems with our immigration programs? You can find the opportunities for jobs only by moving away from the high-level rhetoric of our politicians and digging deeper.
Analysing the component parts of immigration will uncover job opportunities, even at the basic level involving housing and education.
But don’t forget migrants also bring with them a range of skills and aspirations that can add significantly to a community, creating even more opportunities. Even a slight rise in the number of families can be a catalyst for business expansion in a small community and expansion of the social services provided.
Unfortunately, many of our regional, rural and remote communities take things for granted. “Who would want to visit our town, it always the same and there is nothing really interesting or anything for tourists to do”.
Tourism and its benefits flow and are recognised as a critical aspect of creating jobs in small communities. Tourism is increasingly identified as a potential driver for small town economic diversification as well as for promoting community development.
Grey nomads are on the increase and with modern communications, the word quickly spreads about both good and bad places to visit. How often have you simply recommended a particular coffee shop to someone and to hear they have actually gone out of their way to experience it?
Yes, job creation can start with a good coffee shop, clean toilets and friendly people who recommend a town to their friends. But, don’t lose sight of agricultural and eco- tourism as it is on the rise and is also creating many new jobs.
Is your community job-ready?
Investing in your community’s economic performance makes good sense, but if you don’t do something about it, resources will go to other places. Remember it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.
Contrary to popular opinion, research shows that regional areas generate national economic growth and jobs at the same rate as big metropolitan cities. They are worthy of economic investment in their own right, not just on social and equity grounds.
To be job-ready your community should also be investment ready. When businesses look at your community as a place to establish o their business or move their business to, what do they see?
“Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship. It drives everything: Job creation, poverty alleviation, innovation”. Elliott Bisnow
Many local governments are adverse to any development and like things just the way they are, even though job opportunities are hard to find for those who want them, particularly the young people. Like with all governments we need to become more critical of the people we elect and the reasons we elect them.
Build on individual strengths
Your community’s population size does not determine job creation performance. The communities who are surviving and thriving are the ones who work to their strengths, are inclusive and have a positive attitude to the future.
No two communities have the same features strengths and capabilities. But one strength that is common to most successful communities is real entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activity. Identify the entrepreneurs and Gazelles (young entrepreneurs) in your community and nurture them.
Regional businesses and non-profit organisations fall into four main performance groups which help to define investment strategies and focus:
- Slow and steady, nothing changes.
- Always expanding with new initiatives.
- Slipping into obscurity.
- Leaving the community.
Good collaboration across all sectors can be a catalyst for increasing job opportunities.
A close working relationship allows businesses, non-profit organisations and communities to respond to problems, frustrations wants and needs more effectively.
Strong business relations create the reputation of a good place to do business, (a community’s best advertisement)
Working closely with business adds significantly to the municipality’s knowledge base; Such relationships offer early warning of problems and/or reduce the potential for conflict
Action is what is needed
Get ready to create jobs by building your relationships and networks. Build good relationships and connections is what will help to create new jobs.
Regional areas remain great places to live, often scoring more highly than larger cities on measures of well-being and social connections.
But if there’s no shared vision or local leaders can’t get along well enough to back a shared purpose, vision and objectives then you will continue the struggle to create jobs. Where the debate is dominated by the opinion of a few individuals with vested interests, progress will be slow and frustrating, in spite of evidence.
Negotiations to secure jobs and investment is likely to fail if local politics is in disarray and confusion reigns. Waiting for the government is not always a good option as the investment of your community’s time and scarce resources can be better utilised. Most governments are only interested in infrastructure projects, not ongoing programs.
Clearly, the most organised communities ready to create jobs are those capable of getting collaborative leadership and strategic planning working in unison.
Bring about real change and create jobs faster by thinking differently.
Start creating a shared vision and informed set of shared priorities, supported by evidence and linked to a clear growth strategy that builds on existing strengths and capabilities. You need to demonstrate your community’s capacity to deliver.
Moving past talk fests and becoming a community with a culture of action orientation is your best bet to create the jobs you need and want.
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I often drive into a community with someone who says to me, “How would you improve this community and create jobs”? I say give me ten minutes and I will give you ten ideas. Creating better communities is easy for those who are aware, look for these people in your community and nurture them, particularly the young people who are the future.
Smart growth strategies can help rural communities achieve their goals for growth and development while maintaining their distinctive rural character. Wrong strategies lead to wrong outcomes.
Planning where limited resources should or should not go, can help a community encourage growth and create jobs, where businesses can survive and thrive with a walkable main street, less crime and families can live close to their daily destinations.
Policies that protect the rural landscape help preserve open space, protect air and water quality, provide places for recreation and create tourist attractions will bring investments into the local economy.