2018 Innovation Award Nomination: Better Off in Billings=WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT + STRATEGIC PLACEMAKING
Better Off in Billings was a “first” of its kind event, creatively crafted to merge workforce development with strategic placemaking. Using two programs at Big Sky Economic Development, BillingsWorks and Community Development, we designed a day long event to showcase our community and emphasize the importance of talent attraction. We often talk about how the two are linked, but through this we were able to share that with community partners and attendees. BillingsWorks had commissioned new research done by BBER economist, Bryce Ward, plus our newly released 2018 State of the Workforce Report, provided the foundation for this collaboration. We had learned that to attract talent you must also have a desirable community with amenities that people want, such as arts/culture, parks/greenspace, restaurants, bars/breweries, outdoor recreation, education (both K-12 and higher), affordable housing, vibrant downtowns, and many more.