Tyler McKnight, 30, moved from Texas to Vancouver in 2018, seeking a comfortable place to live and work. There’s no income tax, houses are spaced apart and it’s a growing community – all reasons he considered Vancouver.
“I’d lived the city life,” said McKnight, media strategy manager at GTMA digital marketing company in Vancouver. “I didn’t know a lot about Vancouver. It’s actually a pretty cool place.”
A local business concierge group is harnessing social media to attract workers and more out-of-state talent such as McKnight. It’s launched a new campaign called Just North.
Created by the nonprofit Columbia River Economic Development Council, Just North launched its website last month. The site highlights some of the county’s fast-growing employers: GTMA, Fuel Medical and ZoomInfo, and also the perks of the county, including lower housing costs and cost of living compared with Portland or Seattle.
Young talent wanted
Jennifer Baker, president of the CREDC, said the campaign targets mostly young, college-educated talent along the West Coast through social media advertisements on platforms including Instagram and Twitter.
“We wanted people to see that Clark County was a place to thrive and grow,” said Baker. “We’re also appealing to audiences who may have grown up locally who may be boomerang targets to come back to the region.”
At any given time, CREDC has between 30 and 50 companies in its business recruitment pipeline, and they are requesting information that might sway them to move to Clark County, Baker said. Additionally, anywhere between 100 to 200 companies are seeking the CREDC’s help for staff retention or growth opportunities.
“There’s a ton of opportunity,” she said.
McKnight, who lived and worked in New York City before Texas, said he wanted to move to the West Coast. Since he grew up in Los Angeles, the Pacific Northwest drew his attention, especially Seattle.
He applied to a number of marketing agencies around Washington, including GTMA, based in the Columbia Tech Center in east Vancouver. McKnight said he knew nothing about the city when he applied, but his online research swayed his decision.
“I heard the name Vancouver, and I thought they copied Canada,” he said. “Turns out, Canada copied us.”
The Just North website is just what the CREDC wants to attract people like McKnight to Vancouver and to help sway their decisions to seek employment and relocate, Baker said.
The CREDC is also involved in distributing grants to businesses suffering from the COVID-19 restrictions. Locally owned businesses that meet some restrictions are about to get a grant of up to $30,000. The grants, funded by $8.1 million of CARES Act money, are being given on a rolling basis. Visit credc.org/covid19grants for more information.