Speaker, author, and consultant, Dr. David DeLong was the keynote speaker at Yakima County Development Association’s Annual Meeting Luncheon. Dr. DeLong shared practical tips and strategies that Yakima Valley businesses could implement immediately to improve employee retention, recruitment, and engagement.
“As an employer always on the lookout for skilled talent here in the valley we struggle to find highly qualified candidates that meet our culture, high standards, and specific skills,” said Austin Beebe with HUB International. “After listening to David we came away with some new tools to not only recruit more effectively but also to upskill those employees who we feel will be the next step in our company’s future. We were excited to not only sponsor such a great event but to also participate in what he had to offer.”
Jonathan Smith, YCDA Executive Director, explained that Dr. DeLong was chosen to speak because of feedback from companies in the Yakima Valley. “As we met with more than 100 companies in the past year the most common challenge they shared was workforce,” said Smith. “We wanted to provide these companies solutions to attracting and keeping the best and brightest employees to the Yakima Valley.”
Smith also reviewed the status of the 2019-2023 Choose Yakima Valley strategic investment campaign. YCDA is currently at 92% of goal ($2.76 million of $3 million target), and at a 74% net pledge increase over the previous campaign.
David Cobia, YCDA Chair, provided a look back at the success of 2018. YCDA’s work in 2018 led to the creation of 228 new jobs in the Yakima Valley and over $9 million in new payroll.
Cobia also described the key initiatives that the organization will be focusing on for the next five years:
- expand and retain existing industries
- recruit new industry
- improve quality of place
- encourage small business growth
- enhance investor relations and communications
Scott Wagner, son of late local civic leader and visionary Mel Wagner, presented Jeff Louman with the Mel Wagner Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to economic development in the Yakima Valley. Louman was recognized for his influence throughout the Valley and his leadership role in the YCDA Choose Yakima Valley strategic investment campaign.
YCDA would again like to thank all our sponsors, below, who made this event possible! Related links: read our 2018 Annual Report.