GLI CEO Kent Oyler | Photo by Melissa Chipman
GLI CEO Kent Oyler | Photo by Melissa Chipman

Talent acquisition — persuading skilled and educated people to come to Louisville — will be Greater Louisville Inc.’s “top economic development priority for the next three years,” CEO Kent Oyler announced Wednesday at a breakfast at the Muhammad Ali Center. During the event GLI introduced a talent acquisition-focused website Live in Lou.

“Talent acquisition is a competition,” he said. In this effort, our peer cities are “eating our lunch.” As a comparison, he said, Louisville has had only 6 percent population growth in the last 10 years, while Charlotte, N.C., has had a whopping 60 percent.

“And they’re not just better at making babies,” Oyler added.

Benefits to greater population growth extend beyond the workforce, he said. He listed better shopping opportunities, professional sports and more direct flights as other perks of being a larger city.

Talent Development & Attraction Manager Stacey Servo introduced an initiative called GROW! It is a $5 million grant-funded campaign to attract 25- to 54-year-olds to the city and increase the population by 7 percent by 2020. There are three arms to the initiative.

  1. Pipeline strategies:  these will be education-focused efforts to keep young Louisvillians in the city when they graduate from high school and college.
  2. Attraction strategies: Servo listed brand development, market research, university outreach and road shows as just some of the tools her team will use to attract people to Louisville.
  3. Retention: these will be efforts to keep established residents happy here and make new residents want to stay.

Marketing materials advertising the Live in Lou website list 10 reasons to live in Louisville including food, jobs, location, parks and the arts. The website leans heavily on the cost-of-living advantage Louisville has over many of its peer cities and especially over big cities. It includes a cost-of-living calculator for comparison.

According to Live in Lou, there are more than 31,000 open jobs in Louisville.

Servo’s team introduced another website this year to help fill those jobs. GLI Talent helps teach employers ways to attract new employees to Louisville.

While GLI Talent is more buttoned up, Servo described the Live in Lou site as having “informative content with a playful voice.” Indeed, the content skews young with fact like “our bars are open 22 hours” and pictures of Forecastle Festival featured prominently.

After the event, Servo told IL that the website was designed internally by someone who is exactly the target audience: Rene Armendariz, who relocated to Louisville from El Paso, Texas, to work as a graphic designer for GLI around four months ago.

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